Noah invited no insect pests onto the ark, but they came anyway;
flies and roaches, gnats and ants, covering every square cubit
in a seething, confident carpet of stubborn, resilient brown.
The buffalo, once endangered, now have grown so numerous in spots
that they are leaving Yosemite to roam their old prairies, leading to calls
to thin them out by gunning down some of that mass of stubborn, resilient brown.
In the Gulf of Mexico, frightened men drop chemicals and lower booms
against the torrent pouring from the depths, a torrent they once sought to own.
Everything is futile. They stare in despair at the mass of stubborn, resilient brown.
In Phoenix, water pours from sprinklers into the dry soil
and now the desert is held at bay by lawns of green and golf courses;
but let the effort lapse just a bit and soon will come the stubborn, resilient brown.
South of the city, along a border that men have made, soldiers stand
in camouflage and stare south into that shimmering oven, guarding against
the surging numbers moving north — the always present, stubborn, resilient brown.
People here sit and wait in houses of white and gray for their dread to subside.
They do not dare to say what seems obvious — that what they are most afraid of
is that their pastel world is changing back to a stubborn, resilient brown.