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CHICKASAW NATIONAL RECREATION AREA

I.
Some bird chortles two notes over and over,
repeating the only melody it knows,
a symphony of life in the tops of the trees
blown by an April breeze that spins down
streamers of cobwebs and the fluff of seeds
that snag in my hair, on my blue thin-strap top.
Festooned with natural decoration,
I listen as the bird changes pitch, tempo,
and a few grace notes to make a different song–
who does she call home with such passion?

Some birdbrain blasts an oversize boombox
and the nearly empty campground rocks
whether it wants to or not. He (has to be a he;
no she would be idiot enough) cannot hear
the lone bird singing or feel the stirring breeze.
Some other source of inspiration connects his synapses,
bypasses every ordinary circuit that says
“if you’d only listen, there’s so much to learn.”
Still, I wonder if he imitates the bird’s primal art,
calling out his cry, hoping the music will draw a mate.

II.
The diamondback was born in 1989.
Sixteen years old, as thick as my forearm,
his mid-section moves, ribs reticulating,-
slow motion forward (so that’s how it’s done),
tongue probing the sign that says “please do not
tap on the glass it stresses the snakes.”
Sliding past a transparent sloughed off skin
and lips over the body of its poisonous cage mate.
A roster states: the rattler last ate twenty-six days ago,
his human-induced meal, one large white rat.

At night, with the skylight open to the moon,
the snakes and birds gone into nocturnal hiding,
I hear the metal trash can clanging to the ground,
a rustle of papers in the wind, the sensual squeal
of two raccoons foraging for human-induced food.
I squirm closer to your body’s censored heat,
wrap an arm and leg around your chest and hips,
and with flicking tongue and silent grasping lips
let the entire wilderness world know that I intend
to sing you home to supper, devour your need.

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