Top Down

Biology blur close up color

If we remove the top predators nature is decapitated
and all the seeds fly away. As seeds we can blow
anywhere you want to travel. We can even create
a new nature, one with no heartbreak when the
Sequoias die, when the Arctic melts into an ever
increasing ocean. Remove the keystone and—
disaster: ochre sea stars, gray wolves, beavers,
elephants, green-backed firecrown hummingbirds,
Siberian tigers, oysters, coral reefs. Remove any
and more and you have changed the world. I wonder
what will happen when you blow oyster seeds
into my mouth, when you still flycatcher’s wings.
One night I dreamed you loaded all the keystones
onto my bed and said, there you are, you who cannot
stop the world swirling along, change the flow.


Poem by Gayle Lauradunn

Gayle Lauradunn’s Reaching for Air was awarded Finalist for Best First Book of Poetry (Texas Institute of Letters). All the Wild and Holy: A Life of Eunice Williams, 1696-1785, a book-length persona poem, received Honorable Mention for the May Sarton Poetry Prize. Her poems have been included in many print and online journals, and in several anthologies about the environment including Words for the Earth, Birdsong, Mother Earth (Sierra Club Press), and Dirt? Scientists, Artists, and Poets Reflect on Soil and Our Environment.