By John Shoptaw
Chimerical, the rhinoceros egret,
its keratin dehorned in South Africa
and container-shipped to Vietnam or China
where it’s ground by aphrodisiasts
and snorted by affluent boneheads,
metamorphs into the hippopotamus egret,
the elephant, Cape buffalo, zebra, giraffe,
the ostrich, and the camel egret,
the deep-domed tortoise, and in the Americas
the cow heron or cattle egret.
Ranging like wildfire over the last century,
a migration prodded by the transmutation
of forests into ranches, the cattle egret
writhes and champs and tilts and plods
and darts in cursive at grasshoppers.
And where its livestock gets concentrated,
decapitated, tenderized, charred, whatever,
the Bubulcus ibis or cattleman wader,
capitalizing on a field without cattle,
reinvents itself as the tractor egret
though the unattached bird is emblem enough
of the other end of extinction, ignition,
when not just its shaggy breeding crest
and breast plumage go up in flame
but its legs, beak, lores, and irises catch color.
More Poems about Living
Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam
I will tell you why she rarely ventured from her house.
It happened like this:
One day she took the train to Boston,
made her way to the darkened room,
put her name down in cursive script
and waited her turn.
When they read her name...
Altered After Too Many Years Under the Mask
I feel you
More Poems about Nature
The earth said
The earth said
don’t let go,
said it one day
when I was
heard it, I felt it
all said in a
morrow, make right be-
fall, you are not
free, other scenes
are not taking
place, time is not filled,
time is not late,...
For the Feral Splendor That Remains
sometimes I strain