Today's poems are by Dawn Lonsinger

The Blue-Gray Body of the Zambezi

The river is full of albescent bodies
floating, water tossed with light,
            lumbering undone
in the earliest arcana of submersion.

At night the bloat
            of hippopotami sinks
into the earth, massive
            envoy of a galaxy draping
its animal counterpart, the massive
mouths slowly tearing up shortgrass,
hunger chasmal.

Now—sunlight a kind of king-
fisher—these creatures, amassed,
            dial back the flow
of the Zambezi with bulk.

Each bull, cow, calf born underwater,
drifts silently through the glass of under,
            river horses galloping
through the ambient
cords of water lilies strung
            gutless between

A cow and her newborn stray
from the others. For hours they blink
& plunge & drink & defecate,
but now—the sun, a dim commute—the dominant
bull rushes through the quietus, opens
his mouth four feet wide, bites down
on the calf. The mother tries, but he thrashes,
releases the blue-gray body draining, loosened
bricks of blood filling
            the Zambezi.

The bull, rid of potential
competition, wallows. The sun does not bargain
with the bleak: one new body floating lifeless down-
stream, as human as ascendancy.

Copyright © 2005 Dawn Lonsinger All rights reserved
from Beloit Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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