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Great Auks
The great auk is an extinct bird
that keeps on laying eggs;
and the more eggs it lays,
the more extinct it becomes.

The eggs, as soon as they are laid,
are put in glass cases in museums,
where egg-reviewers look at them and say:
“This is the best egg yet
from this particular great auk,
we look forward to the next.”

All the eggs of all the extinct great auks
in the world are exactly the same shape and size,
pages upon pages of them,
and if you placed them end to end,
they would circle the globe many times,
and there’s more coming.

It’s not easy to become a great auk:
you must first become extinct
so that the quality of extinction
can be transmitted to the eggs you lay.

Great auks don’t speak to other birds,
and since they can’t fly
they have founded a Great Auk Society
to declare flying unfashionable,

and all other birds that wish to become great auks
must consent to have their wings clipped
by the Great Auk Society,
and meditate, night and day,
on the virtue of great-aukness.

Eventually, they’ll lay
eggs of the correct shape and size,
scarcely noticing that in the process
they have become extinct.