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Ecological Poem

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Around the pool the hippos drool
as if the chloride wouldn’t kill them.
In fact, they like to play the fool,
the harbinger, the pilgrim.

The bird that plops into the glass
makes a sound, then isn’t there.
Spiders toss, in oleaginous mass,
Goo Gone into the air.

The ants that drag a beat-up car
onto the lawn are emissaries
of some forgotten prince or tsar
from an HBO miniseries.

The cheetah, panther, jaguar, and lynx
(some of these might be the same)
conjure images of Sphinx
and other trademarked names.

The dynamited hole now teems
with insects shiny and obscene,
crawling, dying, though it dreams
an ectoplasm of green.

My own two cats stiffen, confused
at this profusion past the door.
They bat at things they’ve often used
for sound therapy before.

I tell you this out of principle:
that spiraling around a theme
(while naming lots of animals)
can supercharge a meme.

My own skin founders in the rush
of allergenic, if cautious, beasts.
Eyes eye darkness, ears hear hush — 
the assassin’s humor feasts.

Source: Poetry (February 2017)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Poetry magazine

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Ecological Poem

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