People who romanticize an Africa
They’ve never seen
Like to identify themselves
With lions. It’s all roar and hunt,
Quick fucks and blond manes.
People love the word pride.
Haven’t you seen the parades?
Everybody adores a lion
But me. I want to be a giraffe.
I’m already tall and long-necked.
In the real Sahara, a giraffe beats
A lion’s ass every day
On Instagram. I’ve seen
A giraffe shake the leaping cat
Off its back and toss it like litter.
I’ve seen a giraffe stomp hooves
Down hard on the lion’s face
Before it got the chance
To meow. I want to be a giraffe
And eat greens of every variety
Straight out the tree. I already
Like to get high. Lions need
Animals like us. We need no prey.
I already won’t chase anybody
For my food. But maybe
I can still be romantic. Maybe
I can still be romantic in spite
Of my pride. Someone will notice.
Up the sky, not down the street.
You can watch me while I watch you
And the rest of the savanna
From my aerial view. Lord,
Let me get higher. Just one of me
Is a parade.

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World. United States, Milkweed Editions, 2024.