An Embarrassment of Pandas There are people who get paid for inventing names for pharmaceuticals, failed storytellers, perhaps,
who test the castrations of Latin families and dock their portmanteaus on the surveyed
shores of focus groups. How can anyone of us satisfy towards a singularity?
A mortician drew sperm from rich dead men in tonight’s episode of my favorite show,
raised his own farmhouse of extortion babies after disposing of their mothers.
A taxidermist scraped the fat from an extinct zebra relative called the quagga. Thought
to be its own species, the man proved it was simply a color variation for survival.
Turns out, the books simplified the times. How do we not die for all the mythologies
we’ve put to fire: Metaphorically, no stranger tells another stranger the whole truth.
Literally, parties are for fun. The young woman who confessed she came up with Prilosec
on a notepad amongst other baby names now fifteen years older, may have her own
children. I think of her seven states away, because we only know she lived
in Minnesota from that one night, killing time at a mutual friend’s Chicago apartment.
I’m reading to our second city of joy a book about animals his brother
passed down to him. Who decided on a circus of puffins, a murder of crows, a celebration of polar bears? Whose job is it to look in the eyes of another being and draw up its public worth?
-- Christopher Ankney’s first collection, Hearsay, won the 2014 Jean Feldman Prize at Washington Writers’ Publishing House and was a finalist for the 2015 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Hunger Mountain, Prairie Schooner, and more. This fall, find him in Cumberland River Review, Electric Literature’s The Commuter, and Poetry South.