SELECTED FOR
July 19, 2010 Verse Daily
Web Weekly Feature

A Line from Jimi Hendrix Comes to Mind

in the giraffe house as another one sails
mast first through the wall and the shyest one licks a cloud
from the scenery. It is nineteen degrees outside

so they are in here, a room the size of your parlor but
limned with a far-off horizon
and you notice the tennis-ball lump in their chin trembles

like an aunt’s whiskered throat as if waiting for a tea tray
in the painted savannah. It is so private here today,
I lay on the visitors’ bench to nap —

and now they are the perfect witnesses to sleep
like nurses walking quietly outside a sick room —
but my daughter’s friend said, O the smell! Let’s go outside!

And there, between the treetops’ bare limbs
two days after New Year’s
we saw the nests borne up to the blue

and you know how it is, how I am, how the entire zoo
becomes a warehouse for a thief who reaches for the highest
shelf to kiss what she might like to call her own.

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