Dedicated to Sean M. Elliott
How do I defend myself against anything?
I can protect the body but not the soul, not the soil
of the soul, not its rich cake. Nothing will ever become of us,
so you have time to think it over, but still
cassowaries love cassowaries. Something has occurred
in this space, like a cassowary word: too low for the human ear,
the only recorded human death.
A boy who threw a horse's bridle at it,
and took a claw in the neck. He died of negative blood.
If you should see a territorial cassowary,
drive your car slowly, back away, keep your dog close,
place something between you and the bird
like your backpack or a hundred a years of history.
Live as you would like to be remembered
by the cassowary, father of sons.