A Failure of the Imagination

by Sherry Rind

When our wish calls him forth,
a mass breaks the bush and into
the weight of being,

part dancer trotting en pointe,
part tank, lumps and horns everywhere
until we sort the symmetry

of snout broadened into scimitar tusks
and heavy bone sculpted into ridges
protecting the high-set eyes.

The closer we move, the farther the warthog drifts
across the veldt, leaving familiar smells
of dried mud and pig.

The herd plays Our Town,
piglets ramming foreheads and the smooth sows, tails swinging,
strut and mutter, as various as ourselves.

There is no one warthog. We pull them into our world
named as barbeque joints, armored bombers, biker clubs,
cartoons video games, children’s toys,

scars and knobs edited away
the originals lost
in the dry grass closing behind them.



Sherry Rind’s poetry books are The Hawk in the Back Yard (Anhinga Award) and A Fall Out the Door (King County Arts Award, Confluence Press). Chapbooks are The Whooping Crane Dance and A Natural History of Grief. She has received grants and awards from the Seattle and King County Arts Commissions, Pacific Northwest Writers, National Endowment for the Arts, and Artist Trust.