Animal Poems

Advice from a Bat

Dress your wounds with cobwebs 
because a pound of flesh 
can only sop so much blood. 

When you cannot name the man 
who clots the moon’s wax light, 
cower in the thumb of a glove.
Lie in the grass, tell an untruth. 

If a man quiets your moonshine,
call him a blind pig, this because thirst
is a form of sentence, complex. 
Lick the quicksilver off my chest.

Never say “dumbshow” as I deworm the sky.
Only a dog silently nips at a cancer.

Without a dewclaw, peal a doorbell 
with your pocket knife. 
No matter how many times you cut
the letter I in half, it is still the letter I.


What the Crane Wrote

Because the crane sleeps on one leg,
I gave it a piece of chalk, held the slate,
and said, “Write.” These are the crane’s words:

I can smell your soul. 
It smells like the sun,
like an accidental lamp.

When you point, a rosette of flesh 
blooms over your knuckle.
A scab is but a dried flower.

When I dream, a horse
stands on my chest,
like a beast, to ride
a more perfect sleep.

I have swum rivers
of clouds and climbed
mountains of birds, 
but the duck is a lie.    

How many keys must I swallow
before I can hold one in my throat?
I must have too much escape  
in my stomach. Bury me in honey.


Ezekiel Black is a Lecturer of English at The University of North Georgia. Before this position, he attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received an MFA in Creative Writing. His poetry and reviews have appeared inVerseSonora ReviewTarpaulin SkyInDigestDrunken BoatCutBankiO: A Journal of New American PoetryUmbrella Factory MagazineBarrelhouse MagazineColumbia: A Journal of Literature and ArtBOAAT, and elsewhere. Lastly, he edits the audio poetry journal Pismire.