by Sarah Coakley

 We know what it means to lose.
We lost the Hokkaido wolf
Somewhere amongst the spruce and powdered snow
Too inconvenient to withstand poison.
We lost the the Caspian tiger
Burning too brightly amongst the fertile reedbeds
Which were better used to grow cotton.
We lost the golden toad
That once glittered in the Costa Rica sunlight
That got hotter every year.
We lost the Japanese river otter
Missing, presumed dead,
Disappeared into the polluted depths.
We lost the white rhinoceros
Their horns too beautiful, too majestic
For their own heads.
We are losing the vaquita
Binding them to their fate in nets
Designed for the next seafood stew.
We are losing the mountain gorillas
That were too shy, too gentle
To fight back for their homes.
We are losing the pangolins
Because their armour couldn’t protect them
From trafficking and medicine.
We are losing the monarch butterflies
For their burning beauty
Is no match for our burning planet.
We are losing the bees
Along with the wildflowers
That were too beautiful and too fruitless to live.
Yet, before all this
We lost something else
Something fundamental
Before all this
We lost ourselves
Misplaced amongst myths of manifest destiny
At the moment
‘us’ became ‘human’
And ‘we’ became ‘I’
We lost ourselves
And we know what it means to lose.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t be found.
It’s not too late.

Don’t let it be too late.

© Sarah Coakley 2019

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