all of us lose the gene could, trading it off
for can’t and sleep alone like
the pelican in the vast reserve lost his long-term mate
to bored ducks in a bad mood
marauding in Pond Four. Their revenge for
something, just to wear her out. Or it was time.
Called Mildred, and too old. She got tired.

A detail about him though: one wing gone,
after and also.

So he’s stuck there in paradise, minus flight.
Given a human name too – George
in dubious compensation. A king reigning over

What I could not see – but did –
was another pelican, one on Dairy Road
dipping down to
swallow a whole fish whole.

Noon glare, long pinkish throat lit up –
to X-ray! Live shadow-shape
ricocheted in there, down.

Bestiary of mind, unnerve, unnerve …

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