Laysan Island

by Bill Edmondson

Abandoned by a careless sailor
Cast out on this verge of a dash
Little larger than a sand bar
They’re driven to shelter by gouging beaks
Hide in scrub in dunes
Where they find abundant grass    and multiply
In time    take dominion

But later    there’s no more space
Some are crowded into the sea
Where dark shadows gorge

Grasses    bushes    gnawed below the quick
They turn their gentle eyes on one another
Any drop of blood from a scuffle
They’re like red ass    raggedy ass chickens
Torn apart    this is how they learn
To eat their newborn