ginen the micronesian kingfisher [i sihek]

                                                                ~

[our] nightmare : no
birdsong—
the jungle was riven emptied
of [i sihek] bright blue green turquoise red gold
feathers—everywhere : brown
tree snakes avian
silence—

the snakes entered
without words when [we] saw them it was too late—
they were at [our] doors sliding along
the passages of [i sihek]
empire—then

the zookeepers came—
called it species survival plan—captured [i sihek] and transferred
the last
twenty-nine micronesian kingfishers
to zoos for captive breeding [1988]—they repeated [i sihek]
and repeated :

"if it weren't for us
your birds                    [i sihek]
would be gone
forever"

what does not change /

last wild seen—
 
Craig Santos Perez, "ginen the micronesian kingfisher [i sihek]" from From Unincorporated Territory [guma']. Copyright © 2014 by Craig Santos Perez.  Reprinted by permission of Omnidawn Publishing.
Source: From Unincorporated Territory [guma'] (Omnidawn Publishing, 2014)
More Poems by Craig Santos Perez