Animal Synchrony

Molly Bendall

But these are earthbound. Their rules stack up when vines cover the entryway. I’m too crowded, hundreds of helmets flock over the hill’s face, robber barons lurk above the valley. They sniff out the equinox. When someone takes a picture, one nods and blurs its head, a shape-shifter now.

Don’t you covet their parliament? So final, so shrill in the teeth. To track their sunken looks, I mistake their silhouettes for carcasses. I could crown this one with a bruised hat. A twitch in its snout, grizzly even in its lips.

Who’s streaming down from their roosts in a sudden flush of platinum? I can hear it in their bumpy dialect, their wanting gazes. My voice blends, and I match my head to their eyes. If I could rescue their messages, as willows close in with a ruse of green, I’d pull on my quivering cap so it’s all twice as real.

Molly Bendall

Molly Bendall is the author four collections of poetry, After Estrangement, Dark Summer, Ariadne’s Island and most recently, Under the Quick from Parlor Press. She also has a co-authored with the poet Gail Wronsky Bling & Fringe from What Books. Her poems have appeared in the anthologies: American Hybrid: The Norton Anthology of the New Poem, American Poetry: The Next Generation, and The Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative Poetry. She teaches at the University of Southern California.