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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ADAM NAMING THE AMERICAN BEASTS

by Eric Fisher Stone




Adam cupped a narrowmouth toad
in hands oiled by prairie loam and named him
Narrowmouth Toad, chickadees he called
Snuggle Pandas. The Kiowa told him
not to christen bison while their scraggly clouds
hooved the booming plains. They belong
to the Creator, as does their names.

The peccary he baptized Gruntsnout
and the Gila monster, Lavatooth
before the natives banished Adam
to South America where Cortez walked
gonging in steel and helped add
Spanish words to llamas, capybaras,
comet-long arapaima fish
in the Orinoco, poison frogs like blue fire,
tapirs dancing through green chapels of ferns.

With all local words replaced, they were free
to varnish crowns from Incan gold,
blush Naples’ gardens with tomatoes, claim
man’s dominion over gulls and bitterns
and erase the world with their tongues.


Eric Fisher Stone lives in Ames, Iowa where he is a graduate student in Iowa State University’s MFA in Writing and the Environment program. His poetry has recently appeared in Poets Reading the News, Strange Poetry, The Hopper, Dime Show Review and is forthcoming in Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry.