In mid-April at the Split This Rock Poetry Festival, one of the sessions I attended and valued had the title " "Eco-Feminist Poetry, Intersectionality, & the End of the Earth." In the midst of my concern about ecology and women is my addiction to mathematics -- and a poem by Cecilia Llompart started me counting. See if you, too, count the word "buffalo" eight times during this poem; and shudder when you read the final word.
Eight Buffalo by Cecilia Llompart
An obstinacy of buffalo
is not to say that the buffalo
are stubborn. No, not like
a grass stain. More that
the very bulk of one—
silk eyed, nostril as big
as a fist—is a testament
to something we can not
name in this life. And that
one buffalo, herded off a cliff
hoof over big, impossible hoof
could feed so many. And that
two buffalo could feed so many
more. And that three buffalo
could feed so many more.
Better to say an orbit of buffalo.
Better to say where the buffalo
roam than where they do not.
Three buffalo, four. Better to say
an obedience of them. An oblivion.
"Eight Buffalo" is the first of eight poems in a group entitled "Wherever We Roam" and these -- which count all the way down to "One Jackrabbit" -- comprise a section of Llompart's first first book of poetry, The Wingless (Carnegie Mellon, 2014); it is included here with the poet's permission.