A family recipe, a childhood memory, a Depression-era handout
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Put a bald truck tire in the top of a cypress tree in Florida
and soon an osprey will arrive to build its roost
of sharp dry twigs and torn-up winter grass.
Nature is strong.
It feels good to say that: “Nature is strong.”
After the nine species of moth
that carried the fine yellow pollen from one vine to the next
at the edge of the forest in Belize —
after all nine species have been declared to be extinct,
a tenth species will appear.
The last-known example of the slippery frog,
with its slick lemon skin and its lily-pad toes,
will be discovered under the hood
of a rusty Rolls-Royce in a garage,
because nature is strong.
The humans will whisper that the end is near;
the young mother pushing the stroller through the mall
will feel an inexplicable despair.
The linguist will read a book called How to Be Happy,
turn the last page, and be no happier.
The cities may be underwater,
the drowned still adrift in their cars,
but the monkey will go down to the river,
find a rock shaped like a spatula,
and start to dig in the sand,
and the lavender jellyfish will pulse and unpulse
its glowing abdominal sac
through the dark of the Atlantic
like a letter en route in the mail
— strange, strange, strange,