Toward a Coming Extinction

The poem lives in what the fog remembers, see

the old air startled by skunk cabbage, yellow lanterns

in the rich muskeg heavy with gravity

and graves. The poem feels

their hot breaths on the eastern slop
of Thomas & 14th, hot enough to sear a hole in time—

step in—Seattle’s valleys pulling herds to waters’ shores,

shoulders of shadow stampeding for sunlight,

the hush of a cougar’s stalking paw,

mammoth tusks scratching bark: we were here.

Step out—Bees will be born today, but the poem doesn’t

know this yet. One will find its wings for the first time,

then will itself instinctively to the gardenia blossoms

trying to save us all. The poem is alive in the wake

of what the fog remembers when the city is hushed

and the flowers laid at the planet’s altar.