A

BESTIARY

 

To Be

Read as Rock Decays

 

Slowly

 

 

 


The Armadillo

wants to elope

with his pasteurized beauty

but her legs

 

are too long and her eyes

gallop like wild bees

from dangerous flower to dumpster

 


The Bat

counts on the thin branches

to whistle just before

a cloud of bugs drops in

 

like bored teenagers 

looking for that boy who said

he was gonna take you down

 


The Butterfly

 

corrects his flight

every two seconds

a childless old man

 

whose irregular embarassments

tangle his days

on this town's imaginary loom

 


The Camel

 

can't decide which

will ride on the first hump

the angel of lonely confusion

 

has breath as cruel as Asia

the angel of broken promises

has stories sad as glass

 


The Collie

 

pretended to be the last

of a long and fabled line

of tin scrap peddlers

 

who littered the countryside

with cries of Scrap Tin

Scrap Tin Peerless Bits of Tin

 


The Elephant

 

has arranged the days carefully

to follow each other

patiently like punctuation

 

they're bound in friendship

from Miami to Carmel

on that dark and stormy coast

 


The Fish

 

you ate swims now

in ever smaller pieces

through you to your blood

 

towards a dark room

where silver hooks

wait like dangerous thoughts

 


The Fly

 

manufactures helium beneath

its wings as you or I

might make arrangements

 

to meet next weekend

under the large green umbrella

of desire

 


The Hog

 

became a commodity

when history's hot belly

called for service

 

and men with tuberous feet

turned to face

the altar light of capital

 


The Horse

 

sneaks out at night for drinks

with sympathetic turtles

down by the moonlit pond

 

the conversation turns

to the sniping cuts of cattle

the subtle crimes of geese

 


The Kitten

 

has pale memories of Alaska -

that journey over the ice

from Siberia -

 

but believes

the lost plains of old Europe

still echo papa's long-tooth snarl

 


The Octopus

 

will never understand

how the sky doubles over

in its journey around the sun

 

clutching its stomach

with eight blue fingers

dreaming of an ocean voyage

 


The Rabbit

 

demonstrating sexual

consequences deposits

her most recent ones

 

down a five-foot

drainage pipe she possibly

mistook for home

 


The Sheep

 

stand around like

bad arguments so cute

and intractable

 

if you thrust your face

into their thick white wool

you will grow wise

 


The Snake

 

counts one on the tail

one sun making warm

one stone one idea

 

a singular opportunity

to approach from the rear

one and one and one green frog

 


The Sparrow

 

had two songs that knocked

out everyone except

three fat guys over by the pinball

 

but one of them turned

for a second thinking

he'd been here before

 


The Turtle

 

is indifferent

to the glass box the wilted lettuce

his dignity

 

is a granite outcrop

blind and deaf

to the human earth

 


The Zebra

 

doesn't want the world

when you're done

with it

 

he wants the striped

music of raw wind

the corrugated dance of lion grass


All poems by Br. Tom Murphy, O. Carm.

My Poems

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