Preserving an Ecosystem

hired one summer, me color & three color girls. to cut bushes & saplings to preserve bushes & saplings. who decides which? one of us asked. machetes, clippers, saws. they explained that an invasive species is called that to make the culling easier. gold slanted muddy, idyllic & the heat licked the skin clean off our backs and faces. how strong we got, how well we slept. the old farmhouse was overrun with field mice so every morning & every night we baited nine traps and flung eighteen bodies into the field behind the house we decided wasn’t theirs. how strong we became, how robust our appetites, how much we laughed. how clear we were, learning goodness, how to be good, executing all the deaths that goodness requires.

Copyright © 2024 by Christina Olivares. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 13, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.