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Thursday, October 12, 2017


by Richard Schiffman

Last week on the floor of the U.S. Senate
the Right Reverend Senator Bugger Mugger
called me and my green-bellied ilk
               “tree huggers”
Has that cracker ever got my number!
He said, “Buddy, keep those muddy
mitts of yours on your own kind.”
“Amen sir,” I replied, “only I’m wondering what kind
of kind that is.” Granted I’m a bit confused
               (asexually speaking)
something to do with being raised by a missing planet,
abandoned by an ecosystem at a tender age.
Seems I’ve conceived a perverse urge to mate
with a star, or if that’s too cosmic, with a right whale,
a snail darter, a spotted owl—
any species that’s as endangered
as I’m feeling right now.
But I can’t seem to find an other
that’s other enough to satisfy
               my kinky appetites.
My eco-therapist is trying to suss it out.
Right Reverend says it’s unbiblical,
calls my fondness for nature unnatural,
says marriage is between opposite genders,
not genus, has drafted legislation
to make tree-hugging in public a federal crime.
The measure has broad support from speciests
on both sides of the evolutionary aisle.
Hell, if it passes, I’ll diddle with a river.
Hear that’s still legal in California.

Richard Schiffman is an environmental journalist, poet and author of two biographies. His poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly, New Ohio Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, and many other publications. His poetry collection What the Dust Doesn't Know was published by Salmon Poetry in February.