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Endangered Species Act



Beardsley Zoo

This law was made for you,

red wolf. May you come through,


you and your ring of pups

up on their hind legs, pawing


a branch, dancing in the dust

like a dog-days dream circus


in the zoo built where Barnum

once wintered his tigers and bears.


I never thought wolves could be

so sleek and lean, so all ears,


streaked chestnut and sorrel

as if predators were formed


of the earth they walked upon.

Rusty red wolf, all iron


but so small. I can’t imagine

the fear that fed you strychnine.


Here children smile and clap

when they see your pups,


not knowing how easily

what’s present becomes past.

Dana Sonnenschein is a professor at Southern Connecticut State University. Her publications include Corvus, No Angels but These, Natural Forms, and Bear Country. Recent poems appear in Feminist Studies, Qwerty, Westerly, The Naugatuck River Review and other journals.

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