we depend on the earthworms

the day starts with stirring:
steel cut oats on low heat
packed later to go with
bananas sliced in

on our way just outside of town
in a borrowed truck
in the bed:
screenprinted and paper-wrapped plexiglass

what we borrow:
a 38-pound (estimated) post-driver
and medium sized aluminum ladder


jodean, director of the raptor center
drops some habitat-loss stats/perspective:
iowa is the leading state in habitat loss
(much of that loss is due to corn production)
99.9% prairie loss
75% forest loss – it takes 80 years
for woodland areas to return
to natural growth).

we depend on the earthworms to build our soil
we depend on songbirds to spread plants (via seed)

is the habitat lost gone forever?
i’d like to think not
but as long as ethanol prices go up and legislators
are in cahoots with agribusiness
we have a battle to fight


mary, rhetoric professor at university of iowa tells us
i grew up on a farm in northeast iowa
used to right up front on the tractor with my dad
and the fields used to be full of birds
now corn is grown from fence to fence
and there are no more birds
meadowlarks, gone
bobolinks, gone
this disappearance invisible to the students who live here
for 3 or 4 years at a time


climate refugees vanessa says
similar to what you see with war,
hundreds of thousands of people forced
to relocate


and counting
today’s afternoon tick toll update
(from a morning-into-afternoon installation
at the macbride raptor center outside iowa city)
: three
one on mid-low back
one on forearm
one on ankle-calf

corinne’s sun-pinked neck and shoulders
under 3pm still bright sky


tyler and i pause at ped-mall directory
deciphering restaurant names
weighing options
while the wind whips down the streets
and through us


sunburn is a form of dehydration (of the skin)
i tell corinne
who breaks a leaf of aloe from the plant
and rubs it into her shoulders
her neck
her chest


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