BESTIARY

November 19, 2021

by Ashley Wagner

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Mammal eyes
love low light.

Opposite birds
had beaks full of teeth.

The simplest of animals
simply don’t bleed.

Cuckoo bees are klepto-
parasites, laying their eggs

in strange nests
for strangers to feed.

Kleptoparasitism:
now there’s a word
that bares it all.

It begins
with the taking

of that which isn’t yours
and can end

in nothing
but hunger pains.

Land like the finest silk sheets
tilled to dust in the lifetime

of an elephant.
Which reminds me:

in many ancient tongues
elephant and ivory shared
a common name.

 

ASHLEY WAGNER

Ashley Wagner is a queer writer, reader, and roller-skater living in Baltimore. She is the poetry editor for Ligeia Magazine, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Whale Road Review, FOLIO, Door is a Jar, and others.