You surprised me when you came out of the bar that day, half-tanked in broad daylight, still underage and unsteady on your feet.
Why you approached me that day I don’t know but the fella who followed you out of the bar and asked me if everything was okay, that fella seemed concerned about your intentions, though he could barely see through the fog of his inebriation.
Why you invited me over that day I’ll never know, but I figured you were probably too far gone to remember anyway, and my girlfriend had other plans, and I didn’t feel safe going there by myself.
I guess you kept drinking that day, cuz later I heard on the street that your cousin was waiting for me to show up at your place, he had a knife he wanted to stick me with [I don’t know why since I never spoke a bad word about him not when people called him a fag, not even when he broke into my place, sniffed the solvent out of the wood filler, then pawned some things to buy more filler to sniff. We found him rolling on the bed that time wood filler can in his hand incoherent so we patched him up and sent him on his way.]
It’s too late to patch you up now, but I hope you found something good along the way some sliver of beauty, you know the way beauty forces itself in through the crevices no matter how cruel the cage we build around ourselves.
Bottle-brush fox you find an easy meal here, but it’s doing you no favours your coat dead, your eyes dull glass
Garbage-bin fox so far from home you are, so far you have forgotten the taste of fear so you stand near the bumper of a car, a patient dumpster-diver wondering what feast these people might have brought
Junk food fox your head swings round slowly to meet my surprised gaze with the unintelligent look of a video-game drunk teenager
and when the children see you, they speak not of wonder at having caught sight of a sliver of wilderness mystery, but of a tentative dream of rehabilitation
As a vegetarian/ vegan who has worked a fair bit on animal rights and animal welfare issues, I’ve been surprisingly oblivious to the animal welfare organisation known as PETA. They have come up in the news a fair bit lately, shaking me out of my blissful unawareness of their existence. What I have heard about PETA lately has ranged between annoying and scandalous.
For example: not long ago, PETA was in the news for having developed an ad campaign capitalising on the brutal, random murder of a Winnipeg resident aboard Greyhound bus. PETA had seen fit to draw comparisons between the young man’s gruesome murder and the gruesome slaughter of billions of farm animals which are bred, raised and killed for human consumption. While the plight of the farm animals is very real, PETA drew public criticism for having failed to show the respect for the deceased man’s family that many people expected.
Now PETA has popped up again. Just recently, I learned from Wrong Planet that PETA has stepped on another set of toes with an ad campaign regarding people with autism. As a parent of autistic children, and a person who has frequently spoken up for both human and non-human animals, I had to consider this ad from more than one angle.
My first thought is that the ad is misleading because it implies a causal link between dairy consumption and autism. There is no such link. Rather, some autistic children have responded well to a casein-free diet.
My next thought relates to the motive behind this ad. As I understand it, PETA’s intention is to fight the unethical use of non-human animals, not to improve the lives of people with autism. The dairy industry is one of the many sectors in agri-business that breed and consume animals. Given that a small fraction of children are autistic, and a fraction of those with autism benefit from a dairy-free diet, how is this ad campaign going to make a meaningful impact on animal agri-business?
III. Your tight body wrapped around me, sleeping lightly under twisted sheets, it’s not the weight of your arm across my shoulders but the sense of being necessary that makes it hard for me to pull away
II. I stay patiently at my desk working through a spectacular sunny afternoon not for the paycheck, or some abstract work ethic, but for the thought of being near you, however briefly when the clock comes round
I. Do you ever wonder why we often take ourselves so seriously, we forget that it was our shared laughter that brought us together back then?
the princess of spring wears a heart-shaped face, the first blossoms woven through her thick-plaited hair. she is generosity, fertility, she is here to be taken- here to be formed, shaped into what she will become. I am not she.
the queen of summer wears a haughty composure, great composite blooms radiating across her strong shoulders. she is tiller, crop, harvester; she is the days of high sun, the heady scent of blossom and the drone of the bees. I am not she.
the matriarch of autumn wears a weather-worn look, umbelliferous seeds teased into her makeshift crown. she is the slowing of the season, the soil returning to its patient rest, the taproots nestling deep in the earth. I am not she.
the crone of winter wears a cobweb shroud, her face never seen, for she is always turned away. she is the rot and decay of the long, slow night, the impartial judge of which will perish and which survive. I am not she.
The Waxing Moon was a thin book, well-worn and poorly bound, spine inexpertly repaired with tape. After school, sheltered by the stacks of the public library, the children secretly read spells from the book, never daring to borrow it. It was full of mysteries: spells that disappeared warts with knotted red string and dripping eaves; how to become invisible by placing amethyst under the tongue; stranger things involving cat bones. One day, the book was gone, and I always wondered which one of us had taken it. I'm pretty sure it wasn't me.
Take my hand, and we'll find our way home on this star-lit night
Sometimes the night stills, hardens, and the tight stars choke and fall to flat earth, dead embers. The sky is no longer black, dim gray.
Coyote's sadness is deeper than hope.
She snuffs at dead stars amazed, confused, wants to put them back, cannot reach that high, to the dim flat sky. They won't burn again.
This beautiful, sad poem was written by Christopher in response to my poem Without memorial. It was too lovely to remain buried in the comments, so I put it here on my windowsill, where the sunlight may fall across the words to heal Coyote's grief.