In honor of National Poetry Month in April, I did a series of recordings of poems from my book, Sentinel Species. Here’s “Your Mother Doesn’t Want You Wasting Color Film on Zebras”
Your Mother Doesn’t Want You Wasting Color Film on Zebras Feel free to spend your film on boulders mistaken for Galapagos tortoises, the fleshy eclipse of a thumb, obscuring a monkey, the anonymous neck of a giraffe decapitated by the viewfinder, or the pigeons pecking your trail of dropped popcorn even though, we can see them at the corner park for free. Color film is for the pink haze of a flamingo across the lagoon in a distant flamboyance, the captured yawn of a tiger remembered as a roar. But most of all, do not waste your color film on zebras. They live in an impossible world of black and white contrast, defined binaries, and geometries. A baby zebra imprints on her mother’s stripes, memorizes the pattern, follows its map for life across the dusty savanna. Zookeepers can copy the stripes, paint them on t-shirts, and lead the baby zebra anywhere by the gravity of instinct. Do not trace the familiarity of my veins when you should be scribbling off paper. Zebras are born with a predestined ending always after the xylophone or x-ray. They always know their place in the cosmology of all known things but it comes at the price of knowing they’re the untouched page in the coloring book.