Today's poem is by Katharine Coles

Penguin Shot

Remember, says Charles, a penguin is only
A penguin, full of its own life

And necessities, its guts, its parasites
And its dirt, all of which is all

It knows. This morning, the gentoos
Swim alongside the boat, I'm tempted

To say for company or to show us
They're hardly flightless, arching in

Then out of our wake made for their pleasure,
While we, clumsy, roll through

Troughs and swells, our stomachs
Getting themselves around

A twenty-foot sea. A photographer, my friend
Has shot this bird before, to show it

As it is, no words to get in the way, no
Pretty metaphors. Framed

In his lens, on dry land. We see
The little body, its loaf shape,

Its orange feet and beak not made to satisfy
Any notion of absolute adorability. Even

Mine. Like any
Of us, in fixing the bird, letting us

See it stilled, posed and framed mid-
Gesture, in the end he makes something of it.

Copyright © 2015 Katharine Coles All rights reserved
from Subtropics
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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