Friday, January 19, 2018

New Poetry by David Lander

KRIA (young Alpaca) 

For twenty minutes we watched him try to leave his mother. 
He hung like a rag, head down, looking at his new world, 
like a passenger on a cruise ship, curious, astonished 
at soil, smells, grass, but not able to go ashore. 

His skull was wet; white wool tousled like a child’s, towel-rubbed, from the bath. 
He hung upside down, a rabbit in the hand, fighting against the gripping flesh, 
the possessive darkness behind, reaching for this new light, the sweet grass.
He rolled his eyes. 

I gripped his skull, shaped like a cup, fingers round the rim where 
it met the neck and pulled. Nothing. His body was held tight by something 
formidable. His mother, standing still as if this were just another day. 
an occasional grunt suggesting he wasn’t trying hard enough. 

Then out he came, a spindly scaffold of legs and neck. He was active 
on the instant trying to stand, collapsing, wanting to go but remaining, 
desperate to walk, to be, to grow, to taste and see and hear and graze 
and run and rut and call and spit and fight and join.

But the universe crowded in on him. There was no space for him. 
No air moved aside for him, no room was made for him. 
Light bruised him. His mother moved away from him. 
He spoke. He knew. He was not welcome. He folded his knees and sat. 

We stood him up. He sat down. We stood him up. He sat down.
He knew the truth – this place was not for him. We fed him, touched him,
held him, told him he was bold, but truth had entered him. 
He was not wanted. So he folded his knees and sat and died. 

- David Lander 2018

David  has previously published in The Australian, The Age, Overland, Tirra Lirra and Australian Poetry. He has had careers in education and theater. He now lives with his partner in Hobart, Tasmania.

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