Rhett Talley: ‘The Database’

The Database

Driving home from work in slow stop-and-go summer traffic
I crept by what was surely a dead bird melted into the
Hot black asphalt of the shoulder, its soot-marred white
Wings fluttering in the sticky wind as if to regain flight.

I thought, was he a cockatiel, an ibis? Did he perish in an instant?
Or winged, die a slow death on the highway’s edge, next
To the roaring wheels, his companions swooping in bravely
To risk it all, nudge him back to consciousness, as comrades do.

But no; or at least not successfully, and so he remains here for
Me to consider, if at all, in a few frames of contemplation;
And I thought, we will never know his name; nor the names of his
Would-be rescuers nor the names of countless other fallen agents

Of sentience, for every sentient creature, every intentioned and
Goal-directed being living with purpose must surely deserve
A name; and every named thing in this world should be recorded for
Posterity and remembered like you and me in some great database


Rhett Talley


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