Tuesday, November 22, 2005


If you throw a coin in the pool
a penguin may swallow it
and die. Money kills penguins,
the sign says. They’re not
the only ones starving
until someone aims
pennies in their direction;
and they have a charity.
Yesterday I received a letter
asking me to sponsor one,
a nameless penguin
I must name, identifiable
by its unique tone of voice.
Any time I visit the zoo,
I must listen carefully to learn
if it’s alive, to know whether
I owe for the next month.
Twenty years, thirty if I’m
unlucky, not bad for some parts
of the world. Do not drop
litter, penguins choke on
empty packets. Tomorrow
I plan to analyse data
on the infant mortality rate.

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