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Poem: Keys to the Kingdom

Joshua Smith
Liger - a crossbreed of a lion and tiger

Milwaukee poet Jaimee Hills, reading “Keys to the Kingdom,” from her new collection, called How to Avoid Speaking:

Arks won't hold them. The creatures don't fit in, all hybrid ersatz
beasts. The mule comes out smarter than his mom, still horsily,
crossbred. How much smarts did his jackass father put in the mix?
Domesticated cows succumb to buffalo. Mistake? No. Raw
evolution? No. They're bred for beef, for cattalo, a kind of improv
foisted upon them, to make a beefalo, a pitiful portmanteau.
Gather tigers, leopards, jaguars, and lions; mix together and get
hodgepodge spots and stripes, larger ligers, leopons, jaglions
infused with a jack-a-dandied flair of fur and a new strange roar.
Jungles grow jumbled, a mish-mashed Eden (modern day Iraq).
Keepers of horses rope off their zebras before they get mixed up.
Look at the zeehorse it the hokey pokey that they do?
Maybe we'll need a new breed of zebroid jockey. In addition,
no one fathoms how a dolphin & whale make a wolphin. A whim
obviously. A camel/llama combo makes a cama, not a llamel.
Perhaps those hypoallergenic cats, customized in white and black
queued up in biotechnology factory lines somewhere in NJ,
really are ocecates primed to destroy your carpet. Would Ghandi
support this? Should we consider the dogote as a pet? Or cherish
the wily pet dox? What if the coydingo, coywolf, or coydog
unleased from the doghouse to the wild, aren't coy at all? What if
variety in life gets too spicy? What if the lion & dove make love?
What if the turkey & mallard make malarkey, or we combined
xenogenetic hippogriffs, harpies, mermaids, geep, exotic
yakalo & pumapards? Name them watchmacalit, thingamabab?
Zedonks, zebronkeys, Debra: pull your carts across Arcadia.