Poetry – Issue 3.3

Illustration by Pat Gregory
Illustration by Pat Gregory


by Susan Richardson

Here, all animals are equal,
equal in extinction.

The Moa, long ago
an is-no-more, dozes

with the Golden Toad;
the Aurochs shoulders

the load of the Great Auk.
The Quagga logs

all recent arrivals –
the Western Black Rhino,

shorn of her horn,
Lonesome George crawling

from the island of himself,
the Spix’s Macaw clawing

at reports
of captive survivors.

The Pyrenean Ibex
takes vertiginous bets

on who’s next –
the Caspian Tiger’s

wild striped guess says
the Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth’s

himself, racing past

the red edge
of his mangroves,

while dead glaciers wait
for the kiss

of the Snow Leopard’s tread.
And look, here’s

the Common Skate,
swimming against

the tide of her name,
cartilaginous kite

snarled in infinite

The Elder

by Kathleen McClung

“Merlin is 13 years, 10 months old…He is to become the oldest raccoon ever on record in
California and will break the record for the current oldest raccoon in North America.”
–San Francisco Chronicle, February 21,2014

He sleeps through nights, his prowling over. Wild,
the others seize the dark, die young, by three.
Hunched, hardly masked, Merlin has us beguiled.
How has he weathered his captivity
since losing Lance, his brother, long ago,
since losing any chance to steal away?
His keeper holds him close in this photo
and rubs his bony spine as if to say
You do belong with us. She feeds him grapes,
mice, trout puréed, and maybe Merlin purrs,
a ragged hum, resigned to life with no escapes,
no redwood groves, no toppling garbage cans, neighbors
disturbed from dreams of thieves. Do human hands console,
relieve his aches, return enough of all we stole?

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

by Kristin Stoner

This morning the sky churns to black,
the streetlights come back to life,
and the television is a rainbow of radar.

Beware, the weatherman says.
Unsettled, he says about the sky.

At my feet, the dog sleeps,
a golden, curved back rising
and falling in the rhythm
of content, oblivious
to the stirring storm heads.

0000000Oblivious to warnings.

Or, I think, maybe not oblivious,
but rather indifferent with trust
in the safety of our little house,
her place within it.

The streetlights brighten,
the cascade of rain begins,
and I think about all the dogs
that are not this dog,
designed by us to need only us,
right now cowering
in open-front, plywood, shelters.

Or shaking in the underbellies
of sagging porches,
eyes wide with the doubt
the lack of safety presses
on any living thing
designed to need love
and getting only rain.

Porpoise, Sandeels Bay

by Roselle Angwin

How the darkness must have thrashed
with your refusal of this alien element

its gravity, its tug where you couldn’t be fluid
and how long this must have gone on

with your whistles and hums and none
of your kind coming, nor the tide

while we inland slept easy under our duvets
just short of the sea, its roars and murmurs

– though below, nearer bedrock, in our dreams
darkness scratched a jagged line across our deeps.

Death of a Species

by Suzanne Iuppa

Sharp tang outside a bare-soiled sett;
black lump shoved down a farmer’s boot.

crown vector—

war is war.

Snared, gassed
clubbed and bitten

Meles meles
mochyn daear—

dry muzzle,
musky, emptied threats.

Blue bottles flown up in a cloud, thrumming—
angry we’ve disturbed their heaven on earth.

Jaguar Answers Questions about Disappearing

by Suzette Bishop

Who eats you?
You don’t eat me. I am eaten by parasites.

Why do you stop eating?
I starve if my fangs are broken.

How did we divorce?
You used to do everything to show your reverence for me, even file your teeth into
fangs. Now you scare me and take over my land.

What have we forgotten?
How I’ve kissed up to the gods to keep order going for you. How I keep the world
energy cycling as night and day.

What do you remember?
Lost civilizations, a city shaped like me.

Who punished you?
The Creator ordered me to fetch water, and I couldn’t with my paws. So the Creator
made you in the meantime and told me I just had to deal with it. I come back to the trap
to die.

Who will punish us?
The spirit of the jaguar god will punish you for killing our earthly form. It will edge up
on the mud00one0000000000two000000000000000three00000and pounce.

Poet Biographies:

Susan Richardson is a poet, performer and educator, whose third collection, skindancing, themed around human-animal metamorphosis and both our intimacy with, and alienation from, the wild and our animal selves, has just been published by Cinnamon Press. She is Zoomorphic’s poetry editor and poet-in-residence with the global animal welfare initiative World Animal Day. The above poem was written for World Animal Day as part of her residency and this current issue of Zoomorphic, themed around animal welfare and endangered species, is dedicated to the day too.

Pat Gregory is a printmaker, illustrator and crafter, and earns the rest of her living through action research. She has exhibited in Wales and England for over 25 years and produces a range of cards. Her current obsession is with the Roundhouse project, a group of friends who have bought some land near Cardiff to support biodiversity whilst developing an orchard, a forest garden and woodland management skills. Website: patgregory.co.uk Facebook: Pat Gregory Art

Kathleen McClung is the author of Almost the Rowboat. Her poems appear in Mezzo Cammin, Unsplendid, Atlanta Review, A Bird Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace and elsewhere.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, Kathleen teaches at Skyline College and the Writing Salon. www.kathleenmcclung.com 

Kristin Stoner is an English Lecturer at Iowa State University. Her most recent work can be found in Red Rose Review and Mojave River Review. She resides in Des Moines, Iowa with her patient husband and energetic dog.

Roselle Angwin is a well-published Westcountry poet, author and ecopsychologist. As leader of the popular Fire in the Head holistic writing courses and The Wild Ways ecobardic programme, she offers courses on Dartmoor and Exmoor, in Cornwall, on the Isle of Iona (the setting for this poem) and in France. See www.thewildways.co.uk and www.fire-in-the-head.co.uk

Suzanne Marie Iuppa is a poet, community worker and filmmaker who lives in North Wales. She grew up in America before coming to University of Manchester to study modern British poetry in the 1980s. Suzanne also gained a degree in Countryside Management and worked as a ranger in the Clywdian Mountains, where she has been based for 25 years. Her current work supports rare species conservation (in particular, the pine marten) with The Vincent Wildlife Trust.

Suzette Bishop teaches at Texas A&M International University. Her books include Horse-Minded, She Took Off Her Wings and Shoes, Hive-Mind. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies and received Honorable Mention in the Pen 2 Paper Contest and first place in the Spoon River Poetry Review Contest.

Header Artwork by Pat Gregory