Ghazal for Jane Goodall
I squat in the slim woods that still brim full of chimps.
The biggest one, Jeffrey, he is the bull of chimps.
I hiked through the clearing one day. Mist lifted off
Hills. God spoke to me there, hooting the call of chimps.
I miss my husband’s smell, even his hairy back!
I pick gnats for memories in the wool of chimps.
I lobby the United Nations for land where
My friends can roam freely. I hit a wall of chimps.
When I spend nights at the New York Hilton, the white
Sheets give me nightmares there. I feel the pull of chimps.
My focus must stay super-primate. I speak for
Us, the apes. My failure would mean the fall of chimps.
My best slides will break their hearts, their check books open
At the World Wildlife Forum in the Hall of Chimps.
My family snapshots capture sundry species:
See Anne, next to my son? She is the moll of chimps.
Patmos Lyric #2
At night, I found out, the island freezes.
I lit fire behind a rock formation.
Wood was scarce, as scarce as other voices.
The wind bayed. The sand scratched. It gets so cold.
Then in the embers jutted out a spark.
The messenger stood at once in the glare.
I think he touched my beard. It swelled in waves.
I became wheat. Yes, he harvested me,
The first fruit separated from the tares.
As he threshed me against the black boulders,
Ground me into meal, I did not fly off
In the gale blusterings of this exile.
Words, drawn butter, water, egg, honey, yeast,
Bound together whatever was left in
Me and bubbled so that by noon under
The merciless sun, the ideas baked,
And I could start to tell you what I know.