Janis Freegard


                  in the gardens of New
York, for instance, or cantering down the
highway at 27 kilometres per hour,
sharpening their teeth      I have seen them –
360 kilos if they’re a gram – sunning their
albino skin among the flowers      I have
watched them rake and sow outside gazebos,
fertilising the fruit-cake earth, digging in
      at night they tend the sewers

            many have opened restaurants
near their nests      fine chefs, too, they are,
known especially for their baking: brioches
au sucre, tantalising tartelettes, delivered to
your table with a capacious grin      no one
makes a pecan pie quite the way they
do . . . spreading them out for the young to
crack on through at hatching time

                        a tour guide in
the Everglades told me how he’d come across
them one night, a large group near the

river      at first he thought it was an elaborate
courtship display or a ritualised battle      it
soon became clear, though, that this was
some form of circus      he recalled them
clambering on to each other’s backs until
they formed a primitive pyramid      it’s only
a matter of time before they try the high
wire, he said      watch out then

Author’s Note


Previous section.

Next section.