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Clade Song 10

Tasmanian Tiger

Hope’s keen nose smells itself.  A muzzle
chewing at its own groin.

Undisturbed by visibility
since these many years.

If a creature
can be a site, a space, unoccupied

Hope resisted taxonomy—resisted
the specimen photograph.   Its distinctives

should remain indistinct else
extinct.  Stripes on its haunches.

A presence resorbed to its own
abdominal pouch.  Gestating absence.

Hope believes that what doesn’t exist
never did.  Hope emulated

safety in despair, a rigid tail
trailing out behind it.

Straying as in.
As in stray.

Hope’s pelt fitted tight to its hips, a presence
that replaces the original.

To be true is to be overheard, to figure
hope as a presence no one can verify.





Clade Song 10 right
Elizabeth Robinson is the author most recently of Rumor (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press).  Her book, On Ghosts (Solid Objects) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in poetry.  Recent nonfiction has appeared in Conjunctions and Scoundrel Time.  With Jennifer Phelps, Robinson co-edited Quo Anima: innovation and spirituality in contemporary women’s poetry, published in 2019 by University of Akron Press.