Listen: their names
carry news of the places they live:
Red Hills salamander and Bliss Rapids snail,
Maybe once, before they vanish,
they will rise up out of their subterranean
caves, come down from islands
in the sky, leave forest pools and relict
prairies, leaping, swimming, sidling,
soaring, scattering seeds and petals
over the knotted highways
and into the halls of Congress—
the map turtles leading the way.
Tumbling Creek cavesnail.
Kneeland Prairie pennygrass.
Peter’s Mountain mallow.
Delhi Sands flower-loving fly.
Slithering, sliding, crawling, gliding,
let them come, singing with one voice
This land is our land—
Let it not vanish away.
Ash Meadows sunray, Salt Creek tiger beetle.
Written River 3:1, summer 2012