Not so long ago, extinction didn’t exist.
What life was here had always been here
and always would be.
Thomas Jefferson, instructing Lewis and Clark,
asked them to look out for mastodons,
assuming they had to live somewhere cold;
we just hadn’t been far enough north yet.
I guess he didn’t know about the dodo.
The last of the passenger pigeons
even had a name, though that didn’t save it.
Now we know the long dominance of dinosaurs
disappeared in one slap from a cold, indifferent hand,
know that the same rocks rotate in space around us,
hand grenades deflectable by the touch of a solar wind.
We know this, yet choose to believe we can resurrect
our Jurassic predecessors from chunks of amber,
that what we do, matters.
David Thornbrugh is a Ring of Fire poet based in Seattle, Washington. In his poetry, he strives to make sense of existence, and to lessen some of the gloom he feels as the natural world fades further and further into the past and the future looks less and less viable. He finds life without humor not worth the effort, and the idea of being a poet in America pretty funny.