Leveler Poetry Journal
About Leveler Submission Guidelines More Poems

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