Turn up the lights on the hominid pen.
It’s feeding time, though some
don’t even know they’re hungry.
You can give them each
a slice of manna if you like.
See the one who squats in the crotch
of that tree? Almost since birth
he’s exiled himself from the ground.
Unlike the others, he seems to realize
something here is missing—
a grotesque sensitivity that makes him
a wolf in this wood, this tree
he clings to like a mother.
When the wind agitates its leaves
he hugs himself & rocks
back & forth, moaning.
Unlike the others who gibber with awe,
he wants nothing to do with us,
& recoils from your face
as if from a stone that the river
never learned how to read.
But see how his tree glows
in this lurid light, like a harp
rearing above a dark-suited orchestra?
Someday soon we will reunite it
with its former companions,
that whole forest enjoying
eternal life: value-added products
of our loving care.