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By Isabel Rogers

The parrot, Einstein of birds, who can count

and reason calmly in our tongue

while outliving us, disdains the ostrich.

For all its sprint records,

the ostrich will be remembered

for hiding from the truth.

You can’t outrun stupid.


We the people hold some truths

to be self-evident: our magnificent brain

in a body that can’t flee, can’t smell fear,

can’t hear death, can’t see straight.

Even so, our retinas, with rods and cones

as intricate as any telescope array,

evolved to see a predator

slide out of oblique shadow

and give us time to bolt.


We survey our closed dominion

until we look up in August

to find comet dust flaring in the night.


This vastness, this vertiginous awareness

mocking gravity on our speck of now,

wakes us with a recalibrating jolt.


But soon our familiar star will claw toward us

in seven-league boots from the east,

drawing its Valium thread across our planet

as if to cloak a birdcage

to muffle questions that blink through dark matter

and would pour over us

until we drowned, dreaming of amnesia.


  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Isabel Rogers
Isabel Rogers won the 2014 Cardiff Poetry Competition, lives in Britain, and is the Hampshire Poet Laureate 2016. Her debut collection, Don’t Ask, was published by Eyewear Publishing in 2017. See More By This Poet

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