Margeaux Walter © 2012 All Rights Reserved
There lived a tribe of baboons near a hotel frequented by Swiss and English. One night, the cook’s apprentice dumped a tub of pork and spaetzle behind the dining room. Baboons spied out of the trees. The furious, the largest males, emerged and ate. The spaetzle was delectable; the porkloin was tubercular.
A mid-ranked male bit the old king. The old king bashed this opportunist, vomited and, along with all the porkloin-eaters, died the next day.
The tribe’s mechanics broke and resettled. Unseen before among baboons, affection replaced swipes and bites. “Benevolent Gynocracy:” some primatologists published papers and got tenure in America.
Some high-ranked politicians read the papers, and it followed that a little nation should be given by a mighty power (like the English, who apparently gave Israel to the Jews) to scientific, optimistic, and artistic women.
Only refined, emotive men may become citizens; only women make policy. Nobody bites anybody save cravingly on ear, breast, neck, or thigh.
Men brush their companions’ hair. They don’t rape. They never weigh more than 200 lbs. They are not stranglers or pugilists and only rarely gouge each other with pens.
Uriel Crow in a Hazel Field
It is a bottle of diesel fuel.
It stands on a four-forked branch.
A fungus on its beak, red mites
in the crusts of its eyes.
A horse gave birth, the crow saw; crows
can count to five.
Enoch, why hast thou such fright?
Catkins on the branch-forks blow.
An eldritch vocabulary picks through
in a crow
in a field.
Nine of its clutch are alive, four nearby.
T. Zachary Cotler is the author of House with a Dark Sky Roof (Salt, 2011) and Sonnets to the Humans (Ahsahta, 2013), for which he won the Sawtooth Prize. His awards include the Amy Clampitt Fellowship from the Clampitt estate and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He’s a founding editor of The Winter Anthology.
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