TAMING THE ZOO
by Julia Older
If there is a wild, let it be a little wild.
The leopard lies on the operating table,
her four legs spread-eagle, belly shaved.
A plastic tube snakes past the pearly gates
down her snoring larynx.
A video guides the laparoscope
to her smooth white ovary
with the precision of Jacques Cousteau
focused on a whale’s eye.
Routine GYN and insemin-
ation. They roll the sedate cat
to recovery. She staggers and lunges
against the bars like an incar-
Down. Dreaming of Bangladesh where,
sated on freshly killed bait,
she posed for Gray Panthers on elephants.
Dilated now, her pupils glaze over
the sal and bamboo, over her mate
wearing a transistor and ear tattoo.
Her newborn American cubs,
like their turncoat Pa in the Bronx,
will soon be eating hamburger.
The Dragons of Eden
by Sue Howell
Alien Iguanas Overrun Florida Island
_______________National Geographic News
They crawled ashore and multiplied, eating
the hibiscus and frightening the children.
Not little green aquarium pets like Max,
who was bathed in a porcelain tub by my neighbor,
but needle-backed beasts the color of mud.
They spit and whipped their spiky tails, clamping
dragon teeth on hands that fed them, leaving
noxious trails of feces on the borders
of hot tubs and blue swimming pools.
_______________________The citizens shot
the lizards with pellet guns,
or stuffed them in freezers until their sluggish
hearts stopped. Now hired trappers set out
poisoned maraschino cherries for the foreign
invaders, who ate the lovely fruit and died.
But as the ancient creatures disappeared,
_______________________we felt a lack,
saw the sun-baked emptiness of barren stone.
For a time they shook the world we thought
we owned, took us back to the earth’s half-seen
past, where the blood of dragons swam in their veins,
as it does, perhaps, in ours. Will their leaving
streak with red that last sunset, which waits
for the breaking of all blood ties? We watch
the signs from the restless ocean, the infinite sky.
by Mark Totterdell
You’ll need to learn to read their signature
to follow their slow progress through the sallow;
leaves with their tiny veins remaining, then
leaves with just midribs left, and then the shoots
with leaves completely stripped. You’ll need to gauge
how old the damage is; how well the scars
have healed, whether there’s new growth from the base.
You’ll need to search the ground beneath for frass.
You’ll need to be wise to their long-evolved trick
of clinging to the undersides of sprigs,
making the daylight cancel out their shades,
flatten them to leaves. You’ll need to turn them
to see each one leap into three dimensions,
unmissable now, its warts and stripes and all,
its unreflecting eyes a brittle shield,
the startle of its little sky-blue tail.
by Morgan Downie
full forty miles
the fulmar flies
profligate of air
greedy for flight
at rest, sat in pairs
squawk and skraak
on the narrowest edge
there is no romance
like the romance
a life examined
Scientists discover a new species of frog
by Suzanne Garnish Segady
She poses cleanly on a plucked leaf
__________soft brown on brown
balled toes caressing the drying veins —
she is arrow-slender
eyes wide, sidelong to the camera
and because they so wanted her to belong
they searched the lexicon
and named her for something thought lost
and something familiar
How long has she been
in the kinship of trees, smooth
in the scuff of the bark, a skitter
of limbs, a peeking
from behind the outstretched leaf
a tiny truth, uncounted
and unnamed —
the unmarked spark
Julia Older was the nineteenth woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Recent books include an update of her NOBA “Classic” APPALACHIAN ODYSSEY, A BORIS VIAN BILINGUAL READER, and eleventh poetry title TALES OF THE FRANÇOIS VASE. Poets also infiltrate her researched Isles of Shoals Fiction Trilogy. One of Older’s poems was embroidered in Afghanistan, another displayed by the Smithsonian. She has work in SISTERS OF THE EARTH, NRDC, and New Hampshire POET SHOWCASE anthologies; The New Yorker, Poets & Writers, Stanford’s Uprooted and numerous other publications. Townies call her Puma Lady—from a cougar sighting-hearing! while in her studio overlooking Mount Monadnock (NH).
Sue Howell is a retired teacher of literature and writing who has lived up and down the Mississippi River and recently moved to North Carolina. She has a long-time interest in wildlife and the need for humans to understand our deep connection to the animal world. She has written about vultures (a poem published on the World Wildlife Federation website), sea turtles, snowy owls, and other forms of wildlife threatened by a warming planet. Many of her poems are set in the New Orleans area and in Florida, two especially fragile sites for wildlife. Her work has appeared in Passager, Southern Indiana Review, Minerva Rising, and various other journals. She was a finalist in the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival contest.
Mark Totterdell lives in Devon. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and have won competitions. His collection ‘This Patter of Traces’ was published by Oversteps Books in 2014. marktotterdell.moonfruit.com
Morgan Downie is a poet, short story writer and visual artist. His published work includes stone and sea, a collection of poems about island life mainly centred on the Western Isles, and distances, a Romanian- English photopoetry collection.
Suzanne Garnish Segady writes of the intersections of the wild and suburban. She has been published in A Poetic Inventory of Rocky Mountain National Park, Pilgrimage Magazine, and Poetry While You Wait. She lives in Colorado Springs, where the foothills bend to plains, watching, and trying to tune out the growing hum of traffic.