Endling

A century ago, the zoo
In Cincinnati bade adieu
To Martha, whose one claim to fame
Was, she was last to bear the name
E. migratorius, because
No pigeons since were what she was.
Her sendoff wasn’t fine or grand:
The patrons pelted her with sand
For standing, pensive, on her perch,
A widow in an empty church
Where none remained her soul to save,
The sand the dirt upon the grave
In which the Passengers of yore
Lay still, nomadic nevermore.
When Martha perished in her pen
No Passengers were seen again
Alive, although just decades prior
Acres of the earth were by her
Fellows flying overhead
Enshrouded; now the last was dead.
When Martha boarded Charon’s boat,
No coin she carried in her throat
Since science claimed her corpus whole
And thus condemned her dovely soul
To soar o’er Styx and Acheron
Until one hundred years had gone
Beneath her pointed, weary wings.
Tomorrow, though, the welkin rings
In welcome as her purgatour
Expires. Listen! That’s the roar
A species thrums just once, enmassed;
Now Martha’s made it home at last.

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Home Coming Home

Chunks of wet in coolish air?
That’s Oregon, right? I’ve been there!
Remember when we had a lawn?
Yeah, that was fun. Too bad it’s gone.
We’ve sweltered in the sun for weeks.
The thing about blue skies? No leaks.
They must have had some stockpiled, though–
By Labor Day they all must go!
With luck, tonight I’ll douse the lamp,
Then wake to find the sidewalk damp
And porchcats wet with more than dew.
I love this time of year, don’t you?

Baby Steps

Improvement is the goal; perfection
Tends to lend the wrong inflection
To an aspiration, so
Improvement is the way to go.
Every day I hope to be
A slightly better brand of me
Than I’ve achieved the day before–
More perfect-ish, if not much more.
Perfection, while a worthy goal,
Will ultimately crush your soul
As endless days and weeks and years
Of constant effort lead to tears
Of torment and frustration, ’cause
It isn’t real, and never was
Or will be. It’s a limit that’s
So “upper” that it can’t wear hats:
No arms are long enough to place
A hat above Perfection’s face.
So ask an inch and not a mile.
Look back in a little while
And all those inches, end-to-end,
Will indicate where you’d beginned
But you won’t see it–too far back–
And all because you learned the knack
Of aiming high but reaching near,
‘Cause that’s the way to there from here.