"Short tailed albatross
whooping crane
gray wolf
peregrine falcon
hawksbill turtle

"In Geneva, the international tally of endangered species, kept up-to-date in looseleaf volumes, is becoming too heavy to lift. Where do we now record the passing of life? What funerals or farewells are appropriate?

"reed warbler
swallow-tail butterfly
Manx shearwater
Indian python
howler monkey
sperm whale
blue whale

"Dive me deep, brother whale, in this time we have left. Deep in our mother ocean where once I swam, gilled and finned. The salt from those early seas still runs in my tears. Tears are too meager now. Give me a song . . . a song for a sadness too vast for my heart, for a rage too wild for my throat.

grizzly bear
brown bear
Bactrian camel
Nile crocodile
American alligator

"Ooze me, alligator, in the mud whence I came. Belly me slow in the rich primordial soup, cradle of our molecules. Let me wallow again, before we drain your swamp, before we pave it over and blast it to ash.

"gray bat
marsh mouse
blue pike
red kangaroo
Aleutian goose
Audouin's seagull

"Quick, lift off. Sweep me high over the coast and out, farther out. Don't land here. Oil spills coat the beach, rocks, sea. I cannot spread my wings glued with tar. Fly me from what we have done, fly me far.

"golden parakeet
African ostrich
Florida panther
Galapagos penguin
Imperial pheasant
Utah prairie dog

"Hide me in a hedgerow, badger. Can't you find one? Dig me a tunnel through leaf mold and roots, under the trees that once defined our fields. My heart is bulldozed and plowed over. Burrow me a labyrinth deeper than longing.

"thick-billed parrot
zone-tailed pigeon
desert bandicoot
Southern bald eagle
California condor
lotus blue butterfly

"Crawl me out of here, caterpillar. Spin me a cocoon. Wind me to sleep in a shroud of silk, where in patience my bones will dissolve. I'll wait as long as all creation if only it will come again — and I take wing.

"Atlantic Ridley turtle
pearly mussel
helmeted hornbill
sea otter
humpback whale
monk seal
harp seal

"Swim me out beyond the ice floes, mama. Where are you? Boots squeeze me ribs, clubs drum my fur, the white world goes black with the taste of my blood.

sand gazelle
swamp deer
musk deer
Asian elephant
African elephant

"Sway me slowly through the jungle. There still must be jungle somewhere, my heart drips with green secrets. Hose me down by the waterhole, there is buckshot in my hide. Tell me old stories while you can remember.

"fan-tailed flycatcher
flapshell tortoise
crested ibis
hook-billed kite
frigate bird

"In the time when his world, like ours, was ending, Noah had a list of the animals, too. We picture him standing by the gangplank, calling their names, checking them off on his scroll. Now we also are checking them off.

"ivory-billed woodpecker
brown pelican
Florida manatee
Canada goose

"We reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting.


"Your tracks are growing fainter. Wait. Wait. This is a hard time. Don't leave us alone in a world we have wrecked."