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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An Animal with Claws Should Use Them

We used to be frocked in danger: the whipcrack of great dams ripping,
severed power lines lashing the plains. Asteroids plummeted from space,
rabies bubbled out of wild boars, children’s necks snapped in balustrades.

Now the leopard sprawling under the stars wonders what he pursues.
Branches, then planets sag low. What beauty might be, we no longer know.
Under an ironed sheet we hide as the radio replays yesterday’s news.

Our elders cannot help, only watch as we rub sticks, beseeching bushes
to combust again. Across the empire, insects cluster on oily stems
studded with poison pink buds. Bitten enough, they will bloom.