Leveler Poetry Journal
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South Africa

 

The sea split the land

with a river & some people

still haven’t forgiven it

 

 

Window, electric fence—

what separates lions

from an international breakfast

 

 

Elephant trunk slips about a low

bough’s trigger—pulls

back—sparks of birds erupt

 

 

The difference between

cheetah & the idea of cheetah

is my hand on its head, this purr

 

 

O ornamented kingfisher—

as if the green hills were made

to accommodate such ego

 

 

The lioness wakes, yawns,

stretches her nails into the dirt

& the bowels of my fear

 

 

The ethos of this country

divided into the hacked

millimeters of a rhino horn

 

 

The activist cuts leopard bait

from the blesbok’s rough hide

as maggots eat out a circle of praise

 

 

Cutout switchback hills—a whiplash

of cold rain—muddy pockmarks juggle

the truck tires—my virus on adventure

 

 

Canoe stuck in the bottom-sucking

riverbank muck forces us out—

blue-balled vervets cackling like bastards

 

 

In this heat

the kind of animal you are

emerges on the slopes




Joe Pan