The Naturalist
Aubrie Marrin

The animals are awake.

I wear bells on my wrists

and ankles so as


not to take the lions by

surprise. Can you see me


through the trees?

O Supermoon, yes, I am




O Birds of America, the idea

of disappearing from the natural

world completely


didn’t exist until Georges Cuvier

said so. Chrysalis, this


is extinction. Cloud dump,

grey houses, grey roads.


Keys made here.


The animals know something

we don’t. I can’t move

my mouth like that.


Maybe it’s a kind of talking

but I want to believe


it isn’t talking at all.

I want to interrupt


myself over and over.


All offal. There aren’t any

distinguishable markings.

Audubon regularly burned


first drafts to force continuous



I don’t mean to scare

you, but I am devoted.




Something’s always decomposing

into something else.


Swamp pink

in the seascapes.


It’s not enough, these bare

nouns. But a shoal of bass,

sleuth of bears, sedge of bitterns,


a deceit of lapwings—

I’m learning. I’ll whisper


catastrophe into your ear.