Fauna Boy

Inspired by and dedicated to my son, age 8.


I’ve seen him
foxing in the evening
through the quieted streets,
homba in lapine.

I’ve seen him
dogging on a lead
on the pavements by houses,
unleashed through a grassy park.

I’ve seen him
soaring down, flapping up
on trees, wires, poles, fences,
arcing air or flitting ground.

In winged guises he is most multiple:
crow, gull, jay, sparrow, finch,
and once, no, twice, I saw him
as that strange graceful hermit, heron.

I’ve seen him
as darting rabbit too
and snail with slow-seeking horns
and the occasional grey-clad squirrel.

They call him Beastie

and these are not his only forms, no,
these are merely his city-wise shapes,
appropriate fauna for physical eyes.

But also…

I’ve seen him
foxing through my dreams,
speaking not in vulpine barks but
people-voiced words of guidance.

I’ve seen him
dog-headed and gorilla-bodied
in hat and coat, swing from rooftop
to lamp-post, light a stogie, loiter.

I’ve seen him
with wings of goshawk
on keen-clawed mongoose
flying down with grinning fangs.

I’ve felt him
in oceanic dreaming,
as coiling octopus, gliding manta,
coruscating cuttlefish.

Beastie is all of these

and so many more
by day and night and dream
beside us and inside us.

And some say

they’ve seen him,
strangest form of all,

as a little boy.


(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)


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