To a Courting Ostrich

Michael Peach

Should I be flattered or dismayed
That you kneel before me
And sway your long, red neck from side to side?
I watch the dust ascend from your feathered wads,
Called wings, resembling polishers
In a car-wash,
While you shut and open them… for what?

“Deprived of wisdom” is how the Bible
Ironically puts it.
Deprived of a brain, more like: your head,
Compared with your body,
Is minute. Are you a kind of dinosaur? –
It’s a miracle you’re not extinct.

Dear, oh dear! You have stood up anew
To show your thighs
And to strut before me, like some old misshapen drag-queen
In a child’s tutu, while waving your plucked
Protruding rear
Embellished by a single, wilted plume.
I think it’s time they returned you to the wild.


12 May 1996

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