Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Aquatic Herd
     rainy season, Lake Chad, Niger

A tangle of white horns
             bristles above the line of water—
                          You swim to graze, your pasture

those foliaged margins steeped in
             accrual, like a word you can hear,
                          the hiss and rustle of bodies

plying wheels of water, the grind
             of your teeth on familiar flourish.
                          Morning frays from the lake

this hour you don’t
             know barrenness, dry
                          stretch of sand without a trickle

or bloom. You are at home near algae,
             near succulent moss, hooves scribbling
                          bottom layers.

Though you are helpless
             to those who could see you graze
                          you might look dangerous—

Bodies hidden. Just heads
             crowned with ghostly architecture—
                          a stripped and estranging forest

                                       all branches. Or hollow spines.  

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