the whoosh of a Steller’s sea cow’s breath
erased a few decades after discovery, the echo-
locational click of baiji river dolphins,
each coo and cluck of passenger pigeons
in flocks so thick they snapped branches.
Sounds haunt audio wax museums.
The kent and rap-tap double knocks of ivory
bill woodpeckers survive in recordings
from one forest tract in Louisiana.
Would a piano be whole if it lost a key,
an orchestra complete if eight measures of tympani
were all that endured,
sampled repeatedly in hopes a cryptic bird rejoins?
Come on. Come on. Come on, now. Come on.
Scanning bare trees at dawn
I tap the rhythm of waves lapping the shore,
touch my brother’s gravestone at Ouvry,
silent, incomplete, because I never knew him,
never heard the sound of his voice.