Life Science

By Michelle Hope

February 4, 2019

Life Science

You taught me, once, about the Swainson's thrush—its call like an invitation to another world: a swirling up of sound, unseen. Teach me the names of all the birds you know, and how they sing—the Northern shovler, the greylag goose, the magnificent frigate—so when you hear that call to another world—the snowy egret, the golden-crowned kinglet—you’ll know I’ve heard it, too.

Teach me the names of indigenous trees, the ones that have been here forever. Hemlock, alder, Pacific yew. I’ll say their names, and yours, like incantations; I’ll carve your initials on their trunks aloud. They don’t need more cuts on their bodies, like that night you dipped a knife beneath your skin in the kitchen—silver birch, sitka spruce—when there’s already so much wind, so much weather, to thrash them. I want you to teach me—some kind of cherry—the names of everything you love that will live—cedar, cascara—longer than us. Then maybe they’ll say your name every autumn: fallen leaves tattooed with your bootprint. Maybe you’ll stay.



Photo credit: Joshua Morris

comments powered by Disqus « Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow