Daniel Hudon

Thinking of the Bramble Cay Melomys

Perhaps it thrived for awhile 
in the minds of scientists 
who thought, I wonder 
how it’s faring on that tiny atoll
with the waves surging so high,
rolling over the cay, traveling so far
inland, flooding the myriad caves
and hiding places. Does it still forage
for its favorite succulent, thieve a few
turtle eggs while sneaking past the shorebirds? 
How can it be faring on that shrinking island? 

And so they travel to the island
to test the reality with cameras and traps,
hope to glimpse its long mosaic tail,
reddish-brown fur and small ears,
catch a few for a captive breeding program,
save it from forever.  And as each day passes,
the waves roll over the cay 
and the water floods the myriad caves 
and hiding places, the wind grinds the island,
parches the vegetation, so that the cay
waxes and wanes in size and shape,  
and the scientists become more 
and more depressed: the cameras
reveal nothing and the traps catch nothing
so they report, “No tracks were seen and no
scat was discovered.” 

When they bring their
cameras and traps home empty 
they think of the windswept cay, 
the surging waves that inundate the tiny island, 
and the shorebirds and turtles that nest there. 

Daniel Hudon is the author of the new book about the biodiversity crisis, Brief Eulogies for Lost Animals: An Extinction Reader (Pen and Anvil). He works as an adjunct lecturer in astronomy and math. Originally from Canada, he now lives in Boston, MA. More of his writing can be found at his website danielhudon.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @daniel_hudon.