07 October 2006

Carol Peters

Protected Species

The bird's a cuckoo, yellow-billed, and dead.
Your first sight of a rare breed. Why leave it behind?
Why not preserve the specimen instead?

The migratory legislation you’ve read
deems it unlawful to take a bird of this kind:
no yellow-billed cuckoos, even if dead.

You bring it home to freeze with wings spread,
study taxidermy, are startled to find
specimens aren’t preserved but plaster instead.

Skinning is hard, especially the wings and head
until you chop them off. It doesn't mind,
this illegal cuckoo, yellow-billed, and dead.

You dip the parts in slurry, bake them like bread,
fill the castings with foam before you bind
feathers to this incriminating specimen instead

of preserving it. These rips repaired with thread,
these wings in flight, eyes no longer blind.
This bird's a cuckoo, yellow-billed, not dead:
you’ve sung the specimen to life instead.


  1. Hi, Carol:

    Lotta nice poems and such here. Interested in letting your blog in the mix for THE COUTDOWN, an internet radio show formerly called THE GOODNIGHT SHOW? We look around for poems on the web and talk about 'em.


  2. Bob, thank you, I'd love to be in THE COUNTDOWN mix. What an honor.