Matthew Zapruder




The Elegant Trogon


The South American trogon

is a gentle bird with weak legs

and soft colorful feathers

that nibbles holes in trees

to make its nest. One flew

into my dream and dropped

a golden tooth into my supinate

hand, then perched croaking

on a twig. It appeared

to be wearing spectacles.

Special effects, said a Spadefoot,

digging calmly as a scholar

of the Era of Good Feelings.

I felt a rictus travel across

my face, arriving at my mouth

in the form of an effortful

grimace. Dawn was carrying

something quantum in its oral

cavity and purring. I have

a secret pigeon in my heart.

I keep it in a cage composed

of object lessons and feed it 

moral law. Usually every morning

it stirs and wakes me with

its lonely cooing and together 

we wander into a sort of

guilty state of already feeling

as if we are at loggerheads

with the turtle of doing what

we ought to do. Now I am

fully awake. Still I feel that golden

lodestone burning in my palm.

Which I plan on keeping locked.




To a Predator


This morning I woke up early and saw

a fox. It was leaping and dragging its glorious 

red and white tail behind it across

the road. It held a grasshopper in its mouth,

which it dropped when it saw the small 

carcass of a young javelina. Last night 

I was woken by their hairless rooting through

a field of cactus in moonlight. They all

stood together, ears rotated forward into

the breeze, protecting the single mother 

protecting a pair of young. Their

mustachioed labium superius oris i.e.

upper lip protects a gentle tusk

the color of greywater. I almost sympathize

with their corporate need to snuffle

and roam in packs until dawn returns them

to hollows they made in the ground. 

But my sleep does not. Thus I shone 

a very powerful flashlight into their midst 

and watched them scramble across

the highway, dispersing. Thus I walked

out into this morning, wearing a shirt

the color of a dandelion, whistling

an uncertain tune about the mild unequal 

life I would like to know better of a rich 

acquaintance in the Mexican city of Guadalajara.