The Animal Park

where zoos house

opinions and macaws

striations of the sun

yolk over your

imagined body

bare and there

where dolphins'

empty pool

pachyderms and

elephant house

country rat and

city mouse


and the stoical

mule deer

my dear



in the striping light

on the island nation

glowing and shorn

in the crotch of 2 rivers

under new constellations

where back arched you quiver

and ideas are born


The eloping deities cavort to English music

and the doomed they leave behind

in a struggle of ash and the mundane

serve the hothead on zinc

and the promise of primrose

and the absent deities’ liquidity

the absents' shimmering

the leopard's sapphire drinking bowl

the emerald boulder we carried on our shoulders between bamboo splints the long miles from Sri Lanka in a journey of blistered heels and forded streams our court engraver chiseled on the palace walls

all of it

the decades hence

Pol Pot's sunglasses and the mute erasures

of musicians dancing under the weight of their instruments

my mother's teenaged thighs

the short white sleeves of CIA agents phoning for air strikes

mutterings of villagers

cuckling of chickens

the jejune peasantry with a sleeve of rice

whittling bullets from a banana tree

all the absent lords' minutia

their white teeth and glazing

diminishes beneath the slithering vines

We are human plants in the age of machines

The monkey sucked up in the vacuuming

Rust running little birthmarks of rosy orange around the tin roof's nails

Hello hello

Hare Murare

High grow the orchard's weeds

Ocean On Fire

when the world becomes a map

of the world

the blue infinities a khaki skein

all the leaves hanging

woodsman's hats in the centuries

after the woods

the woods a transmutation

spelled haikea hack particle board

the vast warehouses a dream

of escalators limed

in the inventor's tomb

when the oceans on fire

are a contest

called ocean on fire

and your flanks are a memory

your sioux bride's hair

three words on a page

and the perfect utterance

an inch of type

in a dead language's dictionary

when the snow falling is papery

seeds falling

the chicken is its eggs

when black ink runs ocher

and the last poems

are made

at last

by microwaves

when war is an orbit

of titanium owls

and brides are movies

about wedding gowns

when the sure thrush

the driveway robin

and the choruses of birds

singing their sweet disdain

are the names of birds

not the white birch flashing

in a flare of sun

when the driveway birds

are minuets and the cold

sky is carbonate

when all your pages of max ernst

tumble into dreams

of your unreal cities

where you are lost

and unimportant

in the alabaster streets

when all your invitations

to the perfumed mosque

of the back room

your kneeling song your susannah

your ululation and hosanna

are songs cooed by driveway birds

and the long stripe of your body

is a promise sealed in an open car

beyond the twelve hours

of white desert bleeding blaze

under the infinite blue sail

that carries the world

over the oceans of empty hands

when the name of god

muttered in the meteorite

is barked by a dog

and lion the name of love

is mumbled in a crowded bar

the green fireworks illuminating

the white sorrows

of new year's eve

shining globes of icy jade

swallowed in the fog

when your arms

are not around

my waist and your hair

is not a coarse

tibetan beard

across my face

when the dusk birds holler

and you do not hear

and the hasps rasp in your harbor

twelve deserts away

all the fanged flowers

the april thorns = may thorns

april perfumes = lilac

the mazzy clouds = my bright heart

and dissolve + empty + me - you

corrode + silver = flowering tree

the flames mean emptiness

and whole zoos sleep

the visitors cough

and lie down among the zebras

and the extinct forest bears

the orangutans curl around the calves

of the sleeping elephants

while the lion tamer dozes

in the leopard's pen

and not one of the world's abandoned

creatures dreams when you are far from here

                                           for Aurora

Andrew Haley's poems, essays, and translations have appeared in Color Pastel Poesía, Sugar House Review, Kill Author, BlazeVOX, Stop Smiling, and Fanzine. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Images by Elfie Hintington courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Copyright © 2016, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.