what will the poets do when all the birds are extinct

the river dried slowly at first and then fast
it was a river of wood pulp and not of water
all of damp shredded paper was the river's daughter
I knew there were some things too perfect to last

when I woke up this morning to a twenty-second loop
of songs someone recorded in the birdhouse at the zoo
I walked from one end of the room to the other uncertain what to do
until memory fell on me in one screaming swoop

beadyeyed birds with your claws and your scales
I'll pretend to remember you but what I remember are names
such as swallow, swift, albatross, feather: thin frames
hung on white painted walls inside empty old jails

when birds are extinct what will the poets reach for
when stuck between one line and another like a guy at the bar
slipping down between two chairs so hard a fall and so far
between sticky counter and stickier floor