The finding

Stop this chattering
about what it means, or
might mean. When you first
heard the news, what
was your reaction? Deafness.
Two mornings ago
I played the strange phone
message from
my brother in
Mississippi – Don’t know
if y’all heard yet, but they’ve
discovered the [….]
right across the river
from Rosedale
– heard
the tremor in his voice,
but my mind, fearful
daylight creature, failed
to fill in the blank.
I listened again: still
couldn’t make sense
of it. Oh
I thought, probably
some archaeo-
logical thing.
And didn’t give it another
thought until mid-
afternoon, when
my other brother sent
around the link. Ivory-billed
Woodpecker Rediscovered.

I would like to
be able to say that I
got up then & wandered
outside to listen
to the birdsong, aware
suddenly of all the notes
inaudible to the human ear.
Perhaps I did sit
a little straighter
in my chair. I kept reading
e-mail, & at some point
I found myself shaking
with silent sobs. I wrote
in my blog. I grabbed
a beer from the fridge.

The next day when
I played that phone
message for
the third time, it was
perfectly comprehensible.
The Ivory-billed. What else
have I failed to hear because
I was trying too hard
to fill some blank that
was never really blank?
I’m off to
a cousin’s wedding
& for once I’m not
thinking gloomily about
what world their likely kids
will find themselves in.
All might
not yet
be lost. It’s raining,
it’s April, &
the goddamn birds
are singing like
there’s no tomorrow.

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