by Debbie Hall
You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone
Aloha, Po’ouli, you shy little black-faced
bird, last one down from Haleakala’s slopes,
captive and tended by the hopeful, your one good eye
darting about before death, as if to take a final look
everywhere in this world, as if a historian
for your species–as if you might possibly re-
generate one day. And tell me, precisely
how would you like to be remembered
if we would find space for you—not
just in the far reaches, but in places where lost
kin ride invisible on our shoulders, ever
longed-for? I have to believe we all
must want this type of presence in absence.
Never again, doused, bygone,
obsolete, extinguished, a thing of the
past; you’ve taken your place on the list, little Po’ouli–
quit this world, or did the world quit you?
Regardless, you’ve made the final cut.
S is for our song of sorrows
today, for you and those on the brink,
undertaking final laps, quickly sliding from
view—vaquita, winged albatross, northern
white rhino—each unaware of the shadowing
X across its name, quietly
yielding to time and mankind, the
zeniths of their lives gone like sparks in the wind.
Debbie Hall’s poetry has appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual, A Year in Ink, Serving House Journal, Sixfold, Poets Reading the News, Poetry24, Bird’s Thumb, Califragile and other journals and anthologies. She received an honorable mention in the 2016 Steve Kowit Poetry Prize and won second place in the 2018 Poetry Super Highway contest. Debbie is the author of the poetry collection, What Light I Have (2018, Main Street Rag Books).