Saturday, 28 January 2012

Powerless in the charity shop

to revive
the wet-snouted angel
wallowing alone in forest swamps,

shot in the leg by poachers
who hacked off his horn,
powdered to molecules, each pinch

sold for the medicine pots,
more expensive than gold dust,
extinct rhino keratin,

last of the line.
She spins the trinket stand,
her hand snags and trails,

finds no amulet for the animal.
Only one sub-species remains –
fifty rhinos on Java

munching secondary growth forest,
no bodies without horns
in bloodlined puddles, at least

not today. She shoves
the display, a pearl angel
labeled ‘hope’ turns his face

but he’s a knick-knack,
nacre on sand grain,

© J S Robinson

'Cure for cancer' rumour killed off Vietnam's rhinos
J S Robinson is a biologist and writer living in Ireland whose recent work has been shortlisted for the O'Donoghue and Bridport poetry prizes and has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Abridged and Magma