There were still songbirds then nesting in hackberry trees and a butterfly named Question. I remember ivy trembling at the vanishing point of your throat. Then the timelines crashed. California split into an archipelago. Orchards withered under blooms of ash. Now there is no nectar. No rotten fruit. The air is quiet. Once, in Russia, Ornithologists trapped a population of hooded crows, transported them 500 miles westward. Winter came. They never caught up with their flock. With crusts of calcified algae we catalogue each day lost: hot thermals, cirrus vaults, fistfuls of warblers hurtling into dark. There was no sound to the forgetting. We knew the heart would implode before the breath and lungs collapsed. That the world would end in snow, an old woman walking alone, empty birdcage strapped to her back.
I am currently reading Jennifer Foerster’s latest book, Bright Raft in the Afterweather, in which this poem appears. Her work deserves careful attention. I read and reread the poems finding something new to be excited about. Jennifer came to Wisconsin in late February of this year pre-pandemic, and read at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. I left work early to crash the poet dinner party and attend her reading. I am so glad I did especially now! I look forward to the day when we can have public readings again, and be in community.
Angie Trudell Vasquez (Mexican-American 2nd & 3rd generation Iowan) holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has been published in Taos Journal of Poetry, Yellow Medicine Review, Raven Chronicles, The Rumpus, Cloudthroat, and the South Florida Poetry Journal. She has poems on the Poetry Foundation’s website, and was a Ruth Lilly fellow as an undergraduate at Drake University. Her third collection of poetry, In Light, Always Light, was released by Finishing Line Press in May 2019. She co-guest edited the Spring 2019 edition of the Yellow Medicine Review. She serves on the Wisconsin State Poet Laureate Commission, and currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. On January 20, 2020 she became Madison’s newest Poet Laureate.