We All Want to See a Mammal
We all want to see a mammal.
Squirrels & snowshoe hares donít count.
Voles donít count. Something, preferably,
that could do us harm. Thereís a long list:
bear, moose, wolf, wolverine. Even porcupine
would do. The quills. The yellowed
teeth & long claws.
Beautiful here. Peaks, avens,
meltwater running its braided course, but we want
to see a mammal. Our day our lives incomplete
without a mammal. The gaze of something
unafraid, that weíre afraid of, meeting ours
before it runs off.
Linneaus was called
indecent when he named them. Plenty
of other commonalities (hair, live young,
a proclivity to plot). But no. Mammal.
Maman. Breasted & nippled
& warm, warm, warm.
—from Once Removed
—first published in The New Yorker, July 29, 2013