from “Postscript: A Short Film on Fascism” by Nathanaël in Asclepias: The Milkweeds (New York: Nightboat Books, 2015)
The island bird owes everything to its voice. In 1987, when its call was said to
have been heard for the last time, by human ears, it was measuring the span of its
life against its receivability. What its voice signalled, by way of the absence of
another voice by which to appeal to its existence, was the manner of an end. The
bird’s name is comprised of four letters of the Roman alphabet, in a language
foreign to European languages, but equivalent to itself; each of these four letters
is anticipated by an inverted apostrophe. What, of extinction, is death, is it a
death. The honeyeater did not lose its voice, its voice was lost to a lack of hearing.
If the human heard the call sound, it is that what was being received was destined
to an express elsewhere, identified as a species, and unintended for such a near
ear. An ear so near as to be haplessly incriminated. For the bird in question its
voice is the mark of its disappearance. It owes its eradicated life to it, perched,
perhaps, on an island stem, fallen from its branch.