Spring 2024

Internal Extinction

By Haley Winans

Sudden loss is mass mental
extinction. I was a dead-woman-walking
dodo when you died.
I couldn’t fly. I was easy
prey to shipfuls
of esurient sailors. My city
brain collapsed into pastoral
silence. I could hear snow
dust the ground or empty conchs
breathing slow with ocean.
I always heard the ghost scrape
of your voice under
the fractured film of an iced-over
pond, or a dead zone’s blanket
of algal blooms. I was tv static
or puddle-stagnant while the Earth burned
like a marshmallow over a spit. I forgot
I was even holding the spit.
I thought the world would grow
back. I thought I’d grow
back. I had to hunt
myself down deep in the woods
and ask any last words? And beg
her out with dinner and weed.
Endangered species: woman
with bed and bath
as her only habitats.
Interrogates every cardinal
to know if it’s you. I need air.
I need to air this
house of cardinals out. I’ll fan
the doors till they turn
into wings I can claim
as my own while the world around me
immures itself into an urn.

Haley Winans is a garden-lover and bunny mom from Annapolis, Maryland. She has poetry in Slipstream, The Shore Poetry, Breakwater Review, Folio Literary Journal, Minnesota Review, and elsewhere. She just graduated from the University of Memphis MFA Creative Writing program. She’s a founding co-editor of Beaver Magazine. In undergrad, she studied Environmental Studies and Creative Writing, with a hyper-focus on environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, and poetry. Twitter: winans_haley 

Check out beavermag.org ❤️

Spring 2024