Drive-through safari park,
Andrew’s rocks/Cub Scouts

David McAleavey


Drive-through safari park

On the plains near Dallas
we saw ostriches
huddled beside an embankment;

eating the undersides of trees;
lions nestled into shade.

A crocodile. From the one hot road
we never spotted their
hippos, zebras, or gazelles.

Foreseeing frustration
they’d set up a petting zoo where,
when we walked in, lambs

headed to coin-op food dispensers.
I doubt any child minded
and it certainly was true

the animals could be petted
if not dissuaded from acting
in obedience to their nature.

At the exit, an ostrich
touched his hard beak
to the top of my window.


Andrew’s rocks/Cub Scouts

To earn his Wolf, my son
describes his rocks: a black
fossil trilobite, nickel-size,
which Geoff, his cousin, gave him;
and then a slice of shale
from near Fort Worth,
another trilobite on it,
a baby, miniature –
preserved as stone
just starting.

No father can protect you.

Over the years, David McALeavey has had poems in many journals, including Poetry, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review; his fifth and most recent book of poems is HUGE HAIKU (Chax Press, Tucson, 2005). He teaches literature and creative writing at George Washington University in DC.

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