New Dragons Discovered in the Andes by Jo Angela Edwins

New Dragons Discovered in the Andes

—headline about wood lizards, from BBC.com

Surely their faces must register the shock
when pale creatures stumble
in their general direction—
bi-pedaled, thin-skinned,
wrapped in pocketed fabrics,
carrying dark boxes that flicker like rifles
but make little sound, sting no corners of flesh,
the fires they belch, this time, harmless.
Of course they sense the cruel potential
in those with sunken eyes and flexible digits
that stretch to reach whatever they wish
to seize, unaccustomed as they are
to denial; their poor hearts shrink
to the size of a coffee bean at the whisper
of “no.” Beneath a sun gone ghostly
at these arid heights, the dragon turns
his head with something akin to slow
deliberation towards humans who scribble
or peck against plastic screens.
They do nothing more, do not grab or lay open
square cages with hair-trigger traps.
They snapshot. They record. They step back
a slow pace or two, stand like trees long used
to this atmosphere. Soon enough, things will change.
For now, a strange calm descends,
the likes of which none here have seen before.

by Jo Angela Edwins

Editor’s note: The meeting of human and animal is not always copacetic. This poem imagines the meeting from the dragon’s point of view, with uneasy deliberation.

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