It Ain’t Natural

The rolling hills, broad pastures, stands of pine
And bahh-ing herds of sheep beneath a sky
That seems to shrink the sun…these are not proofs
Of any theory of country life,
But momentary images we hold
Before our eyes to void out contradictions,
Such as why the rancher ports a rifle,
Or why a local university
Is as involved with breeding as a bull.
We don’t give up such images, prefer
To hold a lie against a hostile landscape.
We want our cows to speak in artful French,
Our bulls to be romantic gentlemen,
And coyotes, mountain lions and a fox
To play the harmless pranksters for our laughter.
If rattlesnakes could speak they’d keep it simple:
“Don’t tread on me, for if you do, you’ll die.”
The best of us, however, see pigs fly.

Arthur Mortensen of Brooklyn has appeared in many journals and has three collections: A Disciple After the Fact, a novel in verse (Kaba Press); Life in the Theater, sequel, and Why Hamlet Waited So Long (San Sebastian Press). Upcoming is After the Crash, currently in submission. He has been editor & publisher of Somers Rocks Press, Pivot Press, and is Webmaster of