You call me animal 
but I am not your predator. 

You bear your teeth to me
but I cannot see past your smile. 

You are nocturnal, like all hunters 
of fame, yet your eyes are domesticated. 

Your ears are attuned to the sounds 
of warm-blooded noises and 

North America means nothing 
on your map. You wear your hair 

with feathers, eagle feathers and 
heron feathers. Your skin is worn 

like the flesh of black-breasted seals,
roaming the white-capped waves 

for any sign of intelligence. You call 
me animal but I was once aquatic. 

I knew nothing of flies or the wild, edible,
fasting which your saints find so attractive. 

I gave birth and I was alive.

George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, NY. His work has been included in such publications as the Hazmat ReviewMoria Poetry JournalChronogram JournalAmpersand Literary ReviewThe Angle at St. John Fisher College, and 3:16 Journal. George’s blogs, essays and letters have appeared in USA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe AtlanticHavana TimesSouth China Morning PostThe Buffalo News, and more. 

See all his poems on Tea House here.

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