Ode to Baboon

Were you and your healthy
liver nearby?
Were you an excess mouth to feed
in some municipal zoo?
Or were you carefully culled
from some robust family
roaming the Ruwenzoris
and in a frenzy flown
Bujumbura-Pittsburgh,
held incommunicado
until the propitious moment?
Were you strapped down on a gurney
paralleling the man
sedated in the theatre?
Were you anaesthetized
before the scalpel slit
thorax to genitalia,
clamps hitched your hide
east and west
and the knife severed
the pulsing purple jewel
passed to the patient?
And after, did your liverless
corpus lie in state,
eulogized, get borne by hearse
to granite mausoleum?
Or did your unused organs
end up in a sack
left in a land-fill dump
in toxins, excrement and clay?


Rand Bishop has offered English courses at seven universities, primarily at the Oswego campus of the State University of New York, and including a Fulbright Professorship at the Université Nationale du Gabon. He has published several scholarly articles and African Literature, African Critics: The Forming of Critical Standards, 1947-1966 (Greenwood Press). His poems have appeared in about two dozen literary journals.