S.B. Merrow

After Reading Half-Earth

E.O. Wilson says that when the elephants

die, so will we, who have sought and seen

and named 12,000 kinds of ants, armies

and leaf-cutters, iridescent and fiery.


The Mind of the Biosphere, we are busy

with our big-game hunt for happiness,

rounds of beer-pong that require focus,

sidewalks, half the earth. Cups in hand

and cloaked in microbes, humans shuffle

to extinction in sunny fealty to fickle gods,

while hidden species travel the jungle

and earthworm nations settle in moist

darkness. I recycle, shut off lights and shiver.

The future has always been uncertain,

this Not-Knowing as familiar as Love

~ as Luck ~

(to share our genes with thriving rats,) so

one day, when costly measures yield slight

progress, we will cite the sad numbers,

mention those poachers on the savanna.


But E.O.Wilson says we already know

what happens to elephants ~ and to us ~

when families are broken, when

matriarchs and memories are lost.