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Clade Song 5

From the Eyewitness Book
            of Mammals


      The infant kangaroo hauls himself
arm over arm across his mother’s belly,
            blind, searching by touch
      for the opening of her pouch.
                  She offers no aid.
Once there, the joey locks on, thrives
            on love entirely physiological:
      nipple, fur, a temporary shelter
                  from the world.


            Four thousand species,
      almost a fourth of us bats.
            Everywhere on earth
                  but Antarctica,
      these two-page books
                        about darkness
            open and close and open.


      Most of what makes us mammals
won’t show in fossils: not fur,
            not milk, not that trick
      our body-furnaces do with blood.                                   
Those of us ancient, borderline,
                  known by fragments or traces,
      declare ourselves by something
                        about the jaws, a few
            small bones in the ears.

Clade Song 5 Right
Polly Brown lives on a hillside in central Massachusetts, authors a blog about progressive education,, and has two poetry chapbooks in print: Blue Heron Stone, from Every Other Thursday Press, and Each Thing Torn From Any of Us, from Finishing Line Press. Recent poems have appeared in Appalachia, with mp3’s at, and in an online chapbook, Turning Again to the Well, on themes of preservation, place, and sustainability, linked with a recent sculpture show on the same themes.  



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