Other Creatures: A Poetic Tribute

Have you ever been asked,
“If you could be any animal in the world, which animal would you be?”
This is a tribute to all of the animals that never get chosen.

O to be a limpet!
I would be a limpet.
Calcified onto the shell of a most hospitable mussel,
my tiny lung heaving within my intrepid cone,
nestled with my brethren in the briny froth,
Sipping in the seas as I pleases

O to be a terrier!
I would be a terrier.
With bows in my flowing hair,
I would announce every songbird, every passerby, every change in the winds,
with my widely set eyes and ears quizzically cocked, I would say,
There are two kinds of creatures in my world:
Those who feed me, and intruders—which are you?
I would trot on short legs
to destinations already forgotten.

O to be a raccoon!
I would be a raccoon.
Lumbering from yard to yard,
I would ignite the world’s motion sensor lights,
I would free the world’s refuse from the confines of dumpsters,
bulbous belly swinging back and forth,
full of sandwich crusts, orange peels, the contents of the shower drain,
I would travel by moonlight.

O to be a gerbil!
I would be a gerbil.
Reveling in my saw dust and multi-colored paper shreds,
running round and round and round on my wheel until light-headed,
until my cage appears to spin and spiral,
until my tiny heart is beating in my chest,
and I must rest,
and so I gaze into the eyes of your Troll doll on the other side of the glass,
both of us unblinking,
she is always out of reach.

O to be a tapeworm!
I would be a tapeworm.
Through the supple, pink, conduit of your digestive tract,
Dear host,
I would writhe, slip, lick, suck,
we would share countless meals together,
You and I,
together we would hunger.

Molly Greene

Molly Greene is a first year Masters of Environmental Science graduate student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she focuses on critical geography and the politics of space. She is interested in using art and writing to explore social and environmental issues.

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