Conversations with George

Standard

I talk fast like a charging hippopotamus—not that I’ve seen one
but I imagine myself in this frenetic and frightening way
like a beastly stampede. Maybe I envy that you are gentler
and unafraid, good at listening. I really can’t compare you
to any animal. It wouldn’t be what I meant. Too much parallelism ruins a good poem anyway.

 

So I am a hippopotamus
and you are you,
maybe just on safari.

 

I hope you forgive me this metaphor and play yourself on repeat sometimes
knowing that I have wanted all the time to be paying close attention
even as I charge about. I think you will not remember conversations with me
this way. You are more likely to agree to a hummingbird analogy
because somehow you know already that I flit rather than trample.

 

Now I have confused literary terminology and mixed up a hummingbird
with a hippopotamus. Of course, I blame you for being incomparable,
for telling me secrets and making me laugh aloud and alone. I blame you
for disturbing the proper sequence of this poem by being so impossibly far away.
I should hand deliver it now.

 

But then I wouldn’t be a hippo
and we wouldn’t need these wires of technology
to bind us together over an ocean.

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