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Dodo


Standing before his boss, his clipboard clutched
Tightly against his chest as though it might be
The breastplate of some long-outdated suit
Of armor, strangely small and thin, he listens
While from the howling suckhole of a face

He's recently begun to recognize
In dreams, whole gales of imprecation swell
The room, balloon it, till the walls themselves
Seem stretched, tensed, straining not to fly apart
While words as imprecise as musket balls

Go burring through the air. He tells himself,
Nothing can touch me, nothing in the world
Can move me
, centers, breathes the three deep breaths
He's read about in books by Buddhist monks,
And stares above and slightly to the left

Of all that raddled, gaping, goggle-eyed
Absurdity and at a beautiful
Framed watercolor of a famous dodo,
Its head shaped wrong, its rump ridiculous,
The bulge where neck meets body most suggestive

Of some unswallowable morsel caught
Bone-like between its beak and tufty gut,
And nearly all its feathers slate blue-gray
Except for golden sun-flares on the wings
That dangle at its sides, unflappable.


Stephen Kampa

Birmingham Poetry Review

Spring 2017


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