Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Not Thinking of the Alligator

Men jumped.  We could see their choppers,
black and white on our color TVís,
the insect whirr in our ears.  It seemed
we were in the paddy instead of
tipped back in our Laze-E-Boy
loungers, bound like stump-tied dogs
to our 4-A families.  A few words of
journalese and we were the fatalities
on the rise.  In college, we learned
that, wholly aggressive, alligators are lazy
hunters.  They wait for prey to come to them
before they hiss and snap.  Who hasnít
lost a lapdog?  Gators eat anything:
beer bottles, car tags, tennis balls.
After they swallow tennis balls, they
canít sink but seethe on the surface,
their top-mounted eyes like gun
turrets pointed up to the specks of black
sinking toward their swamp.  We study
them; they accept the skyís gifts,
watch the clouds descend like grackle onto
the cypress trees, signaling sunset.   And
after all this time, what do any of us know now
about vertical takeoff or landing,  about
silver-sided planes that rose through milky air,
shot forward, dropped into the night?




(photo by Jennifer Smith)