An okipa with sultry eyes looks at a yellow-stained sky and wonders if it will ever escape the glass box and return to the Congolese rain-forest

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I

 

Air pollution is high,

turn engine off when stationary.

Smoggy gray.

 

A designated outstanding collection.

Relics of a rich man.

Glassy eyed foxes,

stuck in time,

a zoo of children and

wandering couples.

 

Don’t look at me, stop looking at me,

look at this.

The strained mother generates interest,

forces interest, in the dead eyes

of a dodo

That’s a dodo!

 

Stale stench of fur.

 

II

 

Okapi , hidden in the depths of a

Congolese rain-forest,

somehow encased,

sultry-eyed, immovably

prancing.

 

His experiments were all on inheritance of various

characters in plants,

mainly the pea.

Mated mice.

Squished together, flattened.

 

Black.

Blue.

Brown.

Silver-fawn.

 

III

 

Pavo cristasus, spreads it’s

native wings for always,

everlasting, and forgotten.

 

I’d love to be a peacock.

 

Where are the chickens?

 

Do they have any concept of life?

 

Discoloured husks, stuffed.

Chorus of children.

That smell.

Hairs away from putrid.

 

North American Musquash: you Americans, in straw

houses, the inferior rodent, have voted for a beaver,

who promises logs.

 

IV

 

Highly efficient grinding teeth.

 

Secretarybird, did you break the chair,

with your stern glare, your stiff legs

and poise?

 

Otis tarda, tetra terax, little and great,

rare visitors, extinct. Disrupted

habitats. Poor air. Farmers and their

crows. The miners and their

pits. Man and his

bluster.

 

The poor old Bustard bird.

 

V

 

The internal mechanisms that protect

animals

against

their greatest enemies,

the bacteria,

have not been included.

 

Hey. Look. Eagles!

 

The lonely mollusc, alone on a green paper sea,

emergininula reticulata.

 

A man wobbles and touches the glass.

All the eras, all the epochs,

eocene to now, and a man

wobbles and touches the glass,

from the beds, Bracklesham Beds,

beds of antiquity, to now,

as a man wobbles and touches the

glass.

 

VI

 

Pushchairs sit like stuffed animals, a herd of wheels.

 

The parasite disturbs us.

The spindly worm.

Even behind glass.

Encased:

their threat seems real,

unavoidable.

 

They can still reach our intestines.

 

No one looks too long at the cabinet full of parasites.

 

VII

 

Taxidermy,

quiet easy,

some wood and

sewing, bicarbonate of

soda is required

at some point.

 

Oh yes.

 

Finger-length toes.

 

The lonely Golden Lancehead, most venomous snake

in Brazil

with no one

to bite.

 

Status: critically endangered.

 

In many years man will be alone on Earth

with pictures of the blue birds and the

great spotted cats and

there’ll be nothing to remember,

but to remember

to forget

those thatĀ caused it.

 

 

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