Poem by Jenny Bates

Clouded Leopard

How does it feel returning from extinction?

Climbing head first down
my Anthropocene spine     

I break, with each twist of     
wrist, incision of claw. 
    
Divergent several million years     
reduced to eleven in captivity.  
   
Under your limber bones     
I squall, choke and pitch     
tipping into your patient wound. 
    
Wind your tail round my neck     
hero of revenge, and ossified     
purr.      

Your long tooth guilt-piercing.     
We won’t say anything to anyone     
perilous beauty kills,

Shroud me in your cloud.

Jenny Bates, North Carolina. Member of Winston-Salem Writers. NC Poetry Society, NC Writers Network. Published books include, Coyote with Coffee (Catbird on the Yadkin Press, NC 2014). Visitations (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2019). Slip (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2020). Known local animal whisperer to Donkeys, Coyotes and “Crow Folk.”

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