"The Speaking of Birds" by Elisa Gonzalez

Editor's Note

What makes a place habitable? How can we inhabit nature without the violence that comes from trying to master it? This month we present poetry on the theme of nature, which, after America's exit from the Paris climate agreement in June, feels especially poignant and reminds us of these urgent questions. Here are poets whose works immerse us in the natural world and speak of preservation, intervention, loss, and life.

In this installment, Elisa Gonzalez erases the chapter "All the Birds in the World" from The Bird by Colin Tudge. The piece vivifies species like "tyrant flycatchers," "the Huia / last seen in 1907 / the beauty of its feathers / fatal", and diverse others.