Modern Bestiary or the Interim Zoo
“Swans sing at the end of their lives, but Rossini has become silent in the middle of his.”
— Heine, Florentine Nights
My midriff is transitioning
penguin to bear to something extinct,
a midmorning metamorphosis. During breakfast
the TV is a prayer for my sisters, their voices
warming my belly. They think the throat is taken
when it has been vacant all this time. Sitting backwards on the bus
I pull an owl and one layer of blinders comes off. I begin regressing
body-first, the truth speeding by like dark subway tunnels
where not even the rats are free, dependent on product placement
libations. Somewhere along the way I phase out, become
the names and sounds in the tongues that books have forgotten.
By the time I arrive I have recited a prayer for each paw claw and feather,
have written them down as an apology for giving up my own.