Monday, 19 August 2013

The Red Olinguito

You turned up in a drawer
in the Smithsonian
luxuriant in deep coral fur.
Samples and swabs
pokes and prods proving
beyond all doubt
a new species
could shine bright
lengthening lists
in museum catalogues
in mammalian taxonomies

No time till they spotted
copper eyeshine
burning in the forests of blue
noctilucent cloud
you travel by night
drinking from flowers’
velveteen mouths.
Solitary in misty canopies
shy fig-eating carnivore
smaller by far
than others
thought your kind.
Misidentified for years
now named
Bassaricyon nelina
round the hearth olinguito.

Thirty five years since
a mammal discovery                             
then two in two weeks.
The first an omnivore
red in tooth and claw
yet so easily caught.
Standing for all to see
solo in spotlight
at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
The female of a species
renowned for
consummate cunning
and great guile
categorised sexual predator
formerly a child.

© Clare McCotter

Clare McCotter's poetry has appeared in Abridged, Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Cyphers, Decanto, Iota, Irish Feminist Review, Poetry24, Revival, Reflexion, The Moth Magazine, The SHOp and The Stinging Fly. Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.