The Importation of Useful Animals—Laryssa Wirstiuk

Who decides which beasts to eat

and which to award with prizes?


Purebred beagle earns a purple-

and-gold bow, and “hippopotamus”


has too many letters for a market

label. Let us all be named with words


so long that no one expects anything.

Who decides it’s a shortage of meat


rather than an excess of mouths?

The cows begging to be consumed


jumped over the moon from Hindu

lands and crashed into our grasses.


For years, frontier was a red carpet

we could unroll for their endless debut


until someone—who?—said, “No more

room for creatures like you.” Optimism


and courage are entrepreneurs serving

hippopotamus jerky to pioneer foodies.


Let us import hippos to Louisianan

swamps, where cattle refuse to roam.


But no, those already told, already used

to searing beef, pork, and chicken refuse.


One should be so lucky to be so ugly

and lacking a use assigned by who.

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