augury doggerel

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I go into the house of birds and reptiles and open my thermos pah to sip tea and warm my ears. Bird sounds.

A toucan, Ramphastos swainsonii, passes a grape to another toucan, billtip to billtip, then takes another grape, tosses it into the air, and catches it in its throat.

Escaped crickets hide in the wiring over the skinks. Because I am, I think, the only human being, I can (I must) warn the crickets: be quiet, run for your lives.

Turtles with knobby shells, toe-hold shells, climb one another under a sun lamp.

A small square door opens over the turtles, leaving a hole in the sky painted on the back wall. A young woman reaches through and adds just one piece of purple lettuce to the chopped fruit in the corner. When she looks up at me, she looks surprised.

Above the birds now I hear a radio from the back. "Ooo, baby, do you know what that's worth? Ooo, heaven is a place on earth."

There is a pool at the bottom of the python display. Python molurus molurus as thick as a man's leg stretches and hovers just over the water. It tastes the air in here.


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