The Country Dog Review

Kristen Gunther

            – after Forbes (1887)
The old biology is descriptive,
the task – distinguishing the names,
all there is an unusual color to this beetle,
or under the microscope, a divergence
and this tree is different from that other,
you can barely see by looking.

I knew a taxonomist who used to say:
nothing is ever proven.
Recently the wind has been driving
branches into the roof of my house.
I can’t help but remember the ornithologist
who made his living collecting dead birds
in the fields below wind turbines.
Each of us carries too many names
for too little of the world.
See how grass has invaded and fire
is returning too soon in the sagebrush?
Now: who was the first to look at a lake
and ask if it might be a universe?

Kristen Gunther lives in Laramie, Wyoming. She is a doctoral student in the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming, where she also completed an MFA in creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in West Branch, CutBank, THRUSH, Tar River Poetry, Word Riot, and elsewhere. She can be found online at