Of Course Pliny Got Here First and Other Poems


Of Course Pliny Got Here First with This Bestiary Thing—

world turned CE, two years pre-Pompeii, his
collecting, recollecting
every blur and fine point. It’s how you watch birds
from a blind. You see and they don’t,
the pond shrunk by drought.

Is the poem a telescope or a microscope?
Is it big to make small, or small to make big?
How much water in a poem divided by
         how much thirst? How much fire and ash?


A time machine can cherish or destroy.
And that rib toward a future,
                                               was it a fuse?


Orphaned wallaroo in my arms
a kind of baby kangaroo not really. One species here,
one species there. But they resemble.


At it, at it in that
slough of despond called room,
                                                  called Rescue Centre.
The little wallaroo I bottle-fed
filling in the word pensive as stare, as
stop eating a moment—I see it, saw it, I did, I do—
surely his
                 where is she


headlight-blinded at dusk, fooled by glare, crossing
for grass and a small welling up what once
was a pond, the driver—Jesus! Where the hell?—bent
for a shiny can rolling near the brake.


Bottle half the length of my hand
in my hand. His paws and giant legs


all akimbo in the flannel pouch.


His human eyes not quite fear but warm at that speed
meant milk mixed from a tin,
the bottle with its long tawny nipple, his mouth
frantic as any infant’s for it.


So We Get There Just As

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