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C.J. Sage

(California)

The Sloth


Her back is an ecosystem,
algaeic and wrapped
beneath a canopy’s sun.

Arms forever up and out
above her head—she is
this tall. No height,

no dangers below,
will blanch the beast;
she sees no fear.

A fall will seldom kill her.
Nun ordained to pliancy,
she’s slowness made devotion.

The monkeys run
right by her, skitter-shows
their onus; harpy hawks

with sudden plucks
plunge, their hunger flown.
It is true she cannot walk

—when basic need or poor luck
grounds her, she’ll have to
pull herself along the muck

of forest floor. So she hangs,
even after life, from branches,
fool-like, face to sky,

her backward-growing
coat a woolish habit.
Even at the tops

of trees, she blends in.
She is cool, and shy seeming;

Her cry’s a sure ai, ai.

Submitted: Friday, March 09, 2012

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