First came the scouts who felt our sweat in the air
and understood our need to make a sacrifice.
We were so large and burdened with all we had carried,
our blood too rich for our own good. They understood
that we could give what they needed and never miss it.
Then came the throng encircling our heads like acoustic haloes
droning with the me-me-me of appetite. We understood
their pleasure to find such hairless beasts so easy to open and drink.
We understood their female ardor to breed and how little
they had to go on considering the protein required to make
their million-fold eggs. Vibrant, available, and hot,
we gave our flesh in selfless service to their future.
Alison Hawthorne Deming's books include the poetry collection Rope (Penguin, 2009) and the essay collection The Edges of the Civilized World (Picador USA, 1998). She is coeditor of The Colors of Nature: Essays on Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (Milkweed Editions, revised edition 2011). Former director of the University of Arizona Poetry Center, she is a professor of creative writing at the University of Arizona and also serves as chairperson of the board of directors for Orion magazine. She recently completed a new nonfiction book titled Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit.
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