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By Dante Di Stefano

Pen the giraffe inside the zoo of your poems.
Bury your poems in the mouth of a tree frog.

Do not listen for the amphibian apocalypse.
Disregard the hummingbird's shimmer.

From the curved glory of the elephant tusk,
build an ivory cage for your daydreams.

Climb inside the ivory cage and shut the door.
Imagine yourself, a lion and a lioness, roaring. 

Step inside your own jaws when you do
and dwell in the sound reverberating there.

The oceans are calling you and the moon
and the sun and all the vertebrae of God

are aligned and singing for you to fall
into place, to recognize the mammalian heat

that binds you to the sleek wet fur of the earth.
You inhabit one note and call that a lifespan.

You would burn away the impossible oxygen
of a single breath. You would ignite

the hydrogen molecules in your own body.
You will leave your great great grandchildren

a world without the music of humpback
and nightingale, without the tiger’s stripes,

without equal possibilities of glacier and gazelle.
The caribou knows more about conservation 

than you; listen for the clash of invisible antlers
as you drive furiously down the interstate.

The entire biosphere hums you into being.
The fawn in you will curl up and go to sleep

while in a billion, billion, billion other galaxies 
untold numbers of new stars will be born.

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About Dante Di Stefano

Dante Di Stefano is the author of two poetry collections: Love is a Stone Endlessly in Flight (Brighthorse Books, 2016) and Ill Angels (Etruscan Press, forthcoming 2019). His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, and elsewhere. He is the poetry editor for the Dialogist and a regular contributor to The Best American Poetry Blog. Along with Maria Isabel Alvarez, he is the co-editor of the anthology, Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump's America (NYQ Books, 2018).

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