Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
The Phoenix Issue, No. 16, Winter 2008
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  H.L. Hix
  Marci Rae Johnson
  Jae Newman
  Geoffrey G. O'Brien
  K. Alma Peterson
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Adam Among the Animals

No lightning cloud made
          the herd of white
          reindeer thunder

over the field, no sudden
          anger nor tumult
          of cranes branched the sky.

Evening rested its warm heft
          like the young beast
          unyoked and susurrous.

Yet dread nevertheless
          set in, a hart inside
          his chest strung-up

by hind legs––its head to please
          the crown. And above,
          hunger whittled the moon

to a sickle, its thin sleeve of light
          coming over our kind
          and leafy commons.

A skin tanned and toughened,
          stretched over
          the hollow cylinder

to sound a deep music: I have
          not learned a name
          to which you will not bow

A femur to beat the drum.
          A femur to beat
          the names of the father.

Among the primitive flora
          and weird signals of
          those newly bound

to genus and species, he called
          out his own name.
          Like the bird sunk

in the dark tree, whippoorwill,
          he sang his name.
          He sang because he was afraid.