On the savannah, not Rilke’s unicorn or Jarrell’s
eland, but you, Oryx. In the fringed grass of
the little rains, you stalk with sheen and grace.
When you bend low to browse, I mount, ride
bareback, clutching the twisted spires of your horns
as you bolt away. But you must never climb
the stairs to my house. Never expect a place
laid out at our table. Nor should you
appear one-horned to breech the gate of
my hermit’s retreat. Instead, as I grip your
smoky flanks with my legs, lead me deep, then deeper into the wet, wild caldera of time.
Familiar Tense (Marsh Hawk Press) 2019.
Also special thanks to Arts & Letters where this first appeared.