The Milk One

By Anthony Madrid Anthony Madrid
HE has no gift for friendship, for he is void of all curiosity. Or rather,
He’s only interested in matters touching the Lord Hamlet himself.
 
He was born in a lab whose walls were lined with giant, steamy jars
Of the milk of the various mammals, from the milk of camels to the milk of men.
 
Pig milk, monkey milk, rat milk. Dog and cat milk, and the milk of whales.
The milk of the duck-billed platypus and that | of the platitudinous buck.
 
The thick red milk of the vampire bat. And the black milk of the black bear.
—A backlit wall of bottles, ranged from commonplace to rare!—
 
There was stallion milk and rooster, anaconda milk and shark;
There was tarantula milk, Venus flytrap, and that | of the barking aardvark lark.
 
And he would have been perfectly normal, would have grown up socially adroit,
But he stripped the sheet off a drinking straw, took a blade, and shaped a point;—
 
And he syringed into his body a few drops from every jar,
Fell in the floor and spoke languages he had never heard before.
 
He spoke Titmouse. He spoke Miaow. He spoke Moo and Gnu and Ha.
He spoke three kinds of Chickenhawk and the thirty dialects of Baa.
 
And from that day to this, MARDUD’s been lost in the zoo:
A cautionary tale for whoever knows how to read the clues.

Anthony Madrid, “The Milk One” from I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say. Copyright © 2012 by Anthony Madrid. Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.

Source: I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say (Canarium Books, 2012)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Anthony Madrid

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Nature, Animals, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Mythology & Folklore, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Horror

Poetic Terms Ghazal, Couplet

 Anthony  Madrid

Biography

Poet Anthony Madrid is the author of the chapbook The 580 Strophes (2009) and the full-length collection I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say (2012). He has written in forms such as the ghazal and rhyming quatrain, bringing a contemporary, associative, and surreal sensibility to received forms. A PhD student in the University of Chicago graduate program in English language and literature, Madrid’s study of poetics and American . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Nature, Animals, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Mythology & Folklore, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Horror

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Ghazal, Couplet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.