Without, Within

Without, Within

Tiny round-faced vaquita porpoises,
dark-eyed mountain gorillas,
intricately striped Sumatran tigers,
so many species disappearing
under greed’s heavy boots
although the loss seems abstract
as we stop at Costco for groceries,
fill up the car before heading home.

All the while, extinction ravages
from within. We exist in partnership
with 100 trillion bacteria
gifted us by the birth canal,
by kisses, by what we touch,
drink, eat, breathe.
Our own ecosystems are losing
ancestral microbiota like Treponema,
, even H. Pylori
from our interior landscapes.

You and I carry groceries in,
unpack them from canvas bags,
head out for our daily walk
listing birds we no longer see
at the feeder, in the fields:
Yellow-throated vireo,
Rose-breasted grosbeak,
Eastern towhee.
There is no place
where we begin and others end.

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of three books, most recently the poetry collection Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019), the strength of which led her to being named 2019 Ohio Poet of the Year. Laura works as a book editor, teaches writing workshops, and maxes out her library card each week.

[image: Rose-breasted Grosbeak | Kristine Olson]

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