Originally posted 5/26/2010. Revised again, 11/4/2016.
Noah invited no insects onto the ark, but they came anyway;
flies and roaches, gnats and ants, covering every square cubit
in a seething, confident carpet of stubborn, resilient brown.
American bison, once endangered, have grown numerous.
They are leaving Yosemite to roam their old prairies, leading to calls
to thin them out, to gun down some of that stubborn, resilient brown.
In the Gulf of Mexico, frightened men drop chemicals, lower booms
onto oil surging from the deep, a torrent they once sought to own.
They stare in despair at the mass of stubborn, resilient brown.
In Phoenix, water pours from sprinklers into the dry soil.
The desert is held at bay by lawns of green and golf courses.
Let the effort lapse just a bit and see the return of resilient brown.
South of the city, along a man made line, soldiers in sand camo
stare south into that shimmering oven, guarding against
a surge moving north — people of stubborn, resilient brown.
In tidy houses the fearful huddle, seeing everything as a threat;
ashamed to say that what they are most afraid of
is the pastel shell of their world restored to surging, resilient brown.