Noses to the Ground
No one misses what they’ve never known, so
few will miss the old-growth trees,
their huge, living bodies swaying, waiting
with baited breath for the swish, crack of an ax,
and I can do nothing about it. I
can do nothing to help, to save, to give
rather than take –
I’m sorry, Carolina songbird, passenger pigeon,
tuna, and dodo bird. I’m sorry
wolves and deer and moose and elephants and
giraffes and dolphins and
the Eastern mountain lion.
I’m sorry brothers and sisters, daughters and sons,
grandchildren and children after that. I’m sorry for
the world I left. I’m sorry city-slickers and
country folk and all those who’ve never climbed
who’ve never seen a river of fog,
never seen an army of trees marching on and on.
I’m sorry world.
We kept our noses to the ground too long,
and now it’s far too late.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.