Jennie Malboeuf

What the Eclipse Does to Animals

Right when I left home, the sky went dark.
Not where I could see it. But the whole kingdom
of animals confused on the almost-other side of the world.

I spent my first year away unsettled. By May,
my wet hair parted like a lightning strike.
Outside this house, a mockingbird cries

under the streetlamp pleading for company.
The false light keeps him awake, makes him
stupid. Just last night, in Spain, a crowd of fair-goers

lit a bull’s horns and then loosened his chain.
They clapped and laughed when he rammed
into his own post, skull smashed but still afire.

Back then, I thought I was dying. It was the end
of hope. Panic set in to lose my virginity. This time
around, you and I plan a trip to the zoo. The moon

should pass right between us and the sun. Shadow
and starshine shaping an hourglass, the elephants
and ostriches become nocturnal, the entire menagerie

a mirror image of itself.

Jennie Malboeuf is a native of Kentucky. Her poems are found in the Virginia Quarterly Review, FIELD, Oxford Poetry (UK), The Hollins Critic, AGNI, Epoch, The Collagist, Image, New American Writing, Poetry Northwest, and Best New Poets. She teaches writing at Guilford College in North Carolina.
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