I used to absorb countless hours of
Anything with animals.
I recall being banned from it,
For a time.
The brutality of wild dogs at play
Left me a sobbing hysterical mess
And my mom said, "Enough. This is clearly too much for you."
There were orphaned birds
In makeshift, shoebox sickrooms.
Followed by miniature graveside services.
(And subsequent exhumations, in the name of scientific curisosity.)
I never knew who to root for:
The vole or the fox?
The lion or gazelle?
I wanted both to win.
(Never thinking once about the chicken on my plate)
There were stray kittens brought home
And parents to be convinced.
One dog at a time
--Jake, Herbie, Peppy--
But always a multitude of cats
--Holly, Chin-Chin, Cricket, Cleo, Toby, Pip--
And tiny critters galore from mice to hamsters
And even one illicit albino, hairless rat
(Who, incidentally, felt like a warm, ripe peach in my hand.)
Purchased and snuck into my bedroom while Mom was at work
The Pet Store was basically the best hang out in town
I remember watching them feed the snakes
With horrified, compelling fascination.
Thankful my pets ate dried kibble.
(Never thinking about what that was made from.)
I admire ecology more with each year passing
Our harmoniously horrible, perfect wheel of life
Wherein the wolf starts to consume
While the elk still breathes her last breath
Wherein the nurse tree dies
As seedlings reach for the sun
It isn't always easy for me.
And I struggle --sometimes-- with my place
In this circle going 'round.
Nature isn't always kind and gentle.
Is it fantasy to think that I must be?
Sometimes I say that I must have once been a bird
In another life
Or that maybe I'll be one next.
And I am only half kidding.
There is something that flutters in my chest.
That makes me think I used to wear feathers
It will be simpler then, too.
Without so much to think about.
(Or never think about, for that matter.)
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