Watching Animal Videos at Four in the Morning

1. THE PITBULL
Tip-toeing from the den
so as not to wake the cat,
she reminded me of myself
after nursing the baby back down,
as she stood stock-still on three legs,
the fourth hovering like a prayer
that the creak in the floorboard
hadn’t startled her friend from sleep. .

Four in the morning,
three words came to mind:
“if only,” and “imagine.” Utopian.
A world where for one day, a single day,
we treated each other with kindness.

2. THE PARROT + THE MAN
The man wore a neon construction vest;
the parrot had downy white and yellow feathers
and watched intently as the man flattened
the gilded cage with heavy work boots,
one clomp after another. Even in silence,
I could hear the bird egging him on,
cursing (as the caption told me) the cage
that had kept his freedom elsewhere.

Four in the morning,
three words came to mind:
“if only,” and “imagine.” Utopian.
A world where for a day, a single day,
we wanted each other’s liberation.

3. THE ELEPHANT
Isn’t it always the elephant videos?
The overlay of words — all caps, bold:
ELEPHANT CAUGHT PICKING UP TRASH.
Sure enough, you kind of got the feeling
she was looking to see if anyone
was around, then vacuum sealed
a ball of paper to the tip of her trunk
and tossed it into the plastic barrel nearby.

Four in the morning,
three words came to mind:
“if only,” and “imagine.” Utopian.
A world where for a day, a single day,
we took care of our own home planet.

4. TINY SCREENS 
Dimmed and muted in the dark,
a racing mind and frightened heart.
So in awe of the world’s wonders,
the beauty and the best of it,
and wondering what else we can do
to bring more kindness, more justice,
and more selflessness to the waking.

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