The Ornithologist to His Love

by Stewart Conn

I cannot contemplate your taking ill, say,
any more than I can the prospect of no
dawn, no morning patter of fine rain

against the pane, no rich skies at sundown.
As for your absence, no remote
comparison, even when imagining

those hundreds of little auks driven
from their place on the icepack, their
twittering trills silenced as they are caught

in longhandled nets and crammed
into airtight sealskins then left
fermenting for months, before being eaten.