Rebecca Foust

Last Bison Gone

Ours is the curse of the blighted touch

that wilts every green shoot and flower

we mean to admire, keep, re-create


or improve. New Zealand’s Huia Bird,

prized for her scimitar beak

and pleated Victorian petticoat tail,


was hunted extinct except for this

diving-belled brooch and sad hatband,

fast falling to dust


in the Smithsonian. We love what we love

in the scientific way, efficient, empiric,

vicious, too much


and always we touch it, our breath

blooming algae on the walls of Lascaux,

shimmering in acid-etch green.




“Last Bison Gone” first appeared in West Marin Review, Spring 2009.