Before We Came the Kingdom


            Outside the green enclosure
where birds and foxes are taken
for food,
                 there is no food.
The ostrich is first
to prolong its bristled taper towards
the dirt. Black-winged stilt and marble teal tip
their cawing beaks in. Meanwhile, indigenous antelope

makes its cross-legged bow. Meanwhile, ruby pike
dwindles, with large-mouthed erosions.

Sarcophagus flower
trampled in sand. Dark velvet petals

and scarletted under. A copia
of elephants and how they sink
and will not trample. Giraffe crumbling,

the arboreated cricket plies
a long green scatter
into song. Now exit baboon,
peacock, ocelot. Blackbucks and jackals sniff
for grubs. You should

hear them, see
white-hoofed llama before the kick
and fall. See
white-throated dipper heft

a broken foot under. Next the heavenly-
belted rhinoceros makes dry arc
of breathing. Then the heavy roll
in grass slick
with feces. Next the pilot
shunts the gear lever hard
and ignites. Next a yellow car to carry
all the corpses. Next Arabian horses
flick thin hooves and
are no more. Next
the water
runs red then black then stops
running. Demoiselle
in flames. Brown bear flexing

for the flesh of once Dalmatian pelicans.

Even zebras
do roam.

            Pygmy cormorants also rustling
like a paper cone of peanuts
clasped and eaten. Next the lion
lays his shaggy brow

upon the rock. It weeps
into his eye.


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