Observation and Inquiry

Turner Wibbelsman


Into what genius do we peer,
looking at these little birds
on Daphne Major?

That here, 600
miles removed
from all else,

amidst this Pacific
slate, rises a tuff crater
brimming with life—

finches with greys
and blues, feathers
tucked in neat rows,

soft brown bellies
streaked with white,   
genus after

genus: long beaks
for punching holes
in the cactus fruit—

precisely out of reach
of this sea of sharp

the fleshy aril pulp—
and the short beaks
smashing hard seeds

with robust ease.
Some array of
forces here,

that these tiny
creatures have
partitioned their

home with such grace—
the order of this natural

world, carving life in flux
with its blind eye.


Turner Wibbelsman is a student in the Pre-Health Specialized Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017 with a B.S. in Biology and received honors in creative writing. He was an editor of the Health Humanities Journal of UNC-CH and a member of the UNC varsity fencing team.