What They Made from Its Bones
Buttons, of course. Dagger handles. Letter openers.
Hairpins, combs. Blemish powders to cover moles.
Clasps, stays, grommets, bobbins, brooches, splints.
Rattles, plectrums, rosary beads, and at least one
reliquary for a splinter of the cross. Cribbage
pegs, concertina keys, teething rings, teeth.
Sealing wax. Fertilizer for cabbages. Kings,
queens, bishops, knights, rooks, pawns. Whipstocks,
aphrodisiacs, laxatives. Pipe stems, crossbow ticklers . . .
An extinction so thorough, we find no remains
of the bird itself; only relics of a vanished settlement,
preserved for us in glass museum cases.
William Wenthe has published two books: Not Till We Are Lost (Louisiana State University Press) and Birds of Hoboken (Orchises Press). His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Tin House, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. He has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes and an NEA fellowship in poetry. (9/2010)