IN THE FOREST OF FIRST MARRIAGE, Elizabeth Kerlikowske

IN THE FOREST OF FIRST MARRIAGE
by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

The bear bought the cub black sheets
so they would always look clean.

Shelves of fungi climb the host, an oak.
They try to make the tree think she needs them.

One crow calls from the treetop and waits
for an answer. He calls again. Finally a
response. He is no one without others.

Two birds went to school. One said,
“You do the reading and I will learn too.”
The other said, “You will never learn.”

The dog was always in the manger
and that was not enough.

One swan on an inland lake does not
necessarily mean disaster though
there should be two. Cross bow? Mute
swan speaking up?

It’s hard to tell how big the muskrat is
if you can only see its head.

The doe was separated from the buck
and fawn by freeway construction; the buck
urged her to cross, but she had done the reading.

The fox does not think twice about wearing
lamb skin to the sheep rodeo.

The he-skunk said, “There can be only one
star in each family” so the she-skunk left
and took her star, their kit and caboodle.

Inventions of passenger pigeons fill gaps
in the sky. No one to remember.

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