Poetry 2012 / Volume 43

Rhinoceros — Donald Illich

Do you see it? It’s behind your back, grinning.
We meet each other at night in the grasslands.
Telling jokes to each other, we swear we are real.
Then I ride it, holding on to its horn, as the stars

make their entrance, the night framing us as one.
Now it follows me. Through asphalt streets,
over crosswalks, into bars where it orders whiskey,
lets the rowdy crowd throw hoops on its head.

You think it’s make-believe. You want to escort me
to a safe place where the doors are locked, nurses
rattle pills like bones I’m missing, which I’ll swallow
to get them back. I know it’s real, though. Some

people can see it, tell me they have their own animal,
a platypus or a wombat. We should all get together,
someone says, arrive at a solution. Except I won’t want
mine to leave. I wouldn’t be able to sleep without a rhino.

next to my bed. If a criminal came he’d be stomped
into a pulp. I’d smile at it, drift back into dreams
where I am a ghost, and everyone’s happy to see me.
They believe I was lost. They point to a grave.

One thought on “Rhinoceros — Donald Illich

  1. Pingback: Current Issue: Volume 43, Number 1 — Poetry Issue, Fall 2012 | Coe Review

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