Animal (Kit Kelen)

Verity La Heightened Talk

a kind of creature my love

comes of its own wilderness
furry here and there
dangling with suspended eye

might have been a rock
but moves
and proves the eye
with seen

must speak another language

you take a photograph
pet, prey and predator

grows closer with a look
and when you look away

let the sunshine in with
lusted after and before as well

a creature kiss is me for you

like weather come home with
and holds and wants to touch

gender?  look under?
or could be overlooked

bounds after in an insect cloud
and in a heartbeat too

ridiculous days together we spend
fallen hard for the facts

and new
this creature never was

so sad sometimes at going
loves me so so much

as frequently the thing itself

pure abstraction animal is

some days as if by my own breath, skin

not even first thing but fast asleep

and far away
come closer, come

enough of myself told

animal

as animal
I did all sorts of things

you can’t even imagine my
shall-we-call-them-habits

I knew
let’s say I was the whole adventure
and ache

there isn’t a book of it
not even in pictures

as animal
some certain all-sorts of acts

my call
for argument, of the wild
heard over quite some distance

imagine
full of tucker
grubby grovelling about

days gathered me to riot

I was all out of the blue then
not even down from the trees

earlier, before flesh, fur
when I was merely swim
and caught a wave
set sea
clean of least suspicions

should anyone have opened a hand then
fall forward on my face
I simply would not have known
you see

I dragged myself on through the untold
into the mire and got together with

nobody said ‘you animal you’
or nicely if they did

it wasn’t really nakedness
it was I would call it luck

the chasing round the page

ah but then the whisper, sigh
and laughter you could not account

when I was wag-your-tail
who’d care?
I can’t remember the arrangements

said all with the eyes
and sniffle
and wink
wink back

between us
not a word


Kit Kelen’s poetry has been published in Chinese, Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Indonesian and Filipino. His most recent English-language collection, Poor Man’s Coat: Hardanger Poems, was published by University of Western Australia Press. Kit is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau, where he taught Literature and Creative Writing for many years.