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Naming the Animals

A poem

Published on:
February 11, 2019
Read time:
1 min.
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Even now, with bone of my bone
and flesh of my flesh
nearly knocking at the door,
milked in some mysterious way
of knowing my voice, altogether new;
even now, I am haunted
by the animals stalking past.
With each, I breathed a name,
saw the curved spines,
outstretched paws and knobby beaks.
All splendor and rapture, I smiled
a half smile. Not quite.
Every year a different species
clawed by bravely for its chance
to hear me say: you are the one.
Each time I sighed to say: not you, not you
you are not my beloved
and leaned on the side of a fruit tree
wondering what to make of this circus parade
and where all my luck had gone.

When you finally glided in,
the garden filled with laughter
at a joke I only halfway understood:
one part the hysterical reality
of our naked bodies, beautifully fragile,
glowing, almost old together already,
but the punchline much more severe,
we will never nearly be enough
for each other, even after all that,
this strange, unexpected finale
is somehow part of perfection.

Allie Bullivant
Allie Bullivant is a former high school English teacher turned poet, memoirist, and illustrator. Her earliest desire to write poetry came as a result of reading the Oompa Loompa song in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and thinking she could have done it a bit better. Her opinion has since changed. A native New Yorker, Allie married an Englishman and now lives in the UK, where she recently completed a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. Her writing and visual art have appeared in The Cardiff Review, The Lamp, The Oxonian Review, The Oxford Culture Review, and Streetlight Magazine.

Cover photo by April Pethybridge.

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