“We have killed off 60% of wildlife” –New York Post

come from a desert where digging a hole
takes wind water and sand generations to refill
learned to walk gently where the spiny backs
of horny toads are small dunes in the sand
where the jack rabbit is a blind spot in your eyes
drive a twenty-eight year two-seat red pony
that drinks little crude because I keep it repaired
never needed a whale for its oil nor did I
slaughter bison to starve anyone never bought
snakeskin boots or belts nor have I ever had
antelope heads hanging on any wall when I lived
in the forest I fed the squirrels I helped terrapins
cross busy roads took the rat snake back
to the woods when a neighbor brought his axe
moved my campsite when the magpie didn’t like me
near his nest or when a deer attacked me
for building a fire in his home bears behold me
hawks inspire me every fish I fished from amniotic
waters nourished me or was returned alive
all my bullets were fired at clay pigeons
I never wanted an elephant for its tusk nor a lion
for a rug don’t use or buy soaps that destroy rivers
land is my rectory my parsonage my hermitage
the temple where I get the food
the pagoda I share with my sentient relatives
the mosque where my awe kneels in silence
recycle paper glass plastics repurpose furniture
though I’ve left my share of empty webs
missing ant scouts a squashed roach or two
maybe I’ve even being responsible
for an aphid or house mite holocaust or two
but I never used a being for experiments
nor have I need for ten mile ocean nets
nor a taste for shark fin soup never had the ego
to believe my cock could turn into a rhino’s horn
but I’ll put the bird back in its nest
or thank the deer for their medicine
I’ll even ask an eagle for its feather but
if I’ve left footprints hope I left them on a page

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Edgar Gabriel Silex is a Cum Laude graduate from University of Maryland, University College. He received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Maryland. He is a poet and author of two poetry books from Northwestern University Press, a chapbook of poetry, and short fiction. He is also a recipient of National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and an Artist Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Mr. Silex's work is widely published and anthologized. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.