The Last Snail Darter Speaks

August 08, 1991|By Susan C. Broadbent

I am the last snail darter, unseeably

Small: A starry arrow, rippling tranquil

Waters; caesura in the poetry of the soul;

Solitary note in sphere's celestial song.

Useful? Know not utility, only

Graceful harmony: A thoughtful link in

That Great Chain of Being, wrought by the Grand

Natural Hand. You forked giant, whose least

Digit is greater than my whole, what rude

Slime, what monstrous pestilence shall ooze

Up to comfort Nature's vacuum?

I swim. I eat (so very little). I

Sleep my dreamless sleep. Once, I bred,

But now a murmured memory. I am

A missing link, a footnote, fretfully

Dissected in some weighty, dusty tract

About extinction. Alone. Alone,

In all the unlit corridors of time,

I beat against eternal night, frantic,

Seeking the unfindable: Some other

Last snail darter, the first green mystery.

Too late, you useful, reasoning giant.

Too late you think, you measure the tiny,

Significant void my silent passing

Tolls. Not Hercules in manly glory,

Not Great Zeus himself, not even all your

White-coat ruminators can right the wrong,

Or foretell what dream ends, what end begins.

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