Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Three Animal Poems

Today I wrote three poems that are kind of about animals, but mostly about people.

I. Porcupines

Little by little,
we inch closer together,
like porcupines,
navigating the complex interplay
of our different quills,
which grew to protect us,

but the problem with quills is that,
while they provide excellent protection
against predators,
they also make it difficult
to get closer to other porcupines.

How, I wonder,
do porcupines make love?
It must be a delicate dance,
involving incredible
amounts of trust,
and a willingness to get 
wounded sometimes,

and an intimate knowledge,
born of long experience
with the other porcupine's body:
how to navigate the scars,
how to find, and cherish,
those softer places
among the coat of knives.

II. Where Are the Pelicans Going?

At the beach, 
at the beginning of summer,
when everyone is showing off
their "beach bodies"
I stare up at the migrating pelicans,

and I wonder where they are going
with such precision and purpose,
and that perfect "V" formation.
Where are they headed?
What's wrong with this place?
The weather is fine.

But off they go,
wave after wave of pelicans.
Wherever they are headed,
I like how they stick together,
a community of pelicans
pushing forward,
all together,
with all their strength,

guided by an inner map
born of generations.

III. The Last Mastodon

Do you think 
the last mastodon
knew that he was
the last mastodon?

Do you think 
he knew that,
when he died,
there would never
be another mastodon

again, ever?

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