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Armadillo


ISSUE:  Autumn 1977

Fort Morgan, Alabama

Vetoed sheriff of the swamp,
armadillo,
peapod rhinoceros,
wounded little ego
by the side of the road,
impasse—in God’s quilted kingdom—
between the possum and the turtle,
bony mist-blossom ghosting
in neglected grass,
napping Ferdinand of the pecan groves,
Stone Age kiln of the unbakeable heart,
I wish you no harm!
Do not make yourself a stone.

Lord Master of Catatonia,
cameo Armageddon,
how very terrible
the spurned love affair
must be for your kind!
The hummingbird, that
cupid of the Springtime marsh,
cannot find a target among
your twenty veils of calcium.
No love! No love! No more!
    is your cry.
/ die! I die! Suicide!—
    your one great scene,
little Hamletromeo,
feigning the sowbug’s agony,
and then you’re off like a shot
into the underbrush. Applause.

The tinsel moon rises
over your theater of leaves.

Goodnight, little beast,
with your raisin eyes
and your bleached flesh
of a sunbathed Venus,
sleep deeply under the shaggy
breezes of the Gulf,
on the dry path
between the gas stations
and the Spanish fortress,
where fire comes out of the ground
(as in the Old Testament)
to amaze the hands of tourists.

Sleep, and goodbye, armadillo,
denizen of swamps, citizen,
 vaudevillian.

Night drops its ice-blue sheet
over the harem of the crickets.
Minutes slowly curl their tails
in the moonbit dusts of the road.

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