Olm

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Life in the undercurrent,

isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

If I could still see,

I’d tell you all about it.

But I’m not complaining, believe me,

I get by.

No one bothers you down here,

unless they’re really asking for it.

Lazily,

though I prefer “efficiently,”

Sliding through nooks and crannies.

I spend my time,

sidewinding,

along dark-as-night,

limestone-lined,

walls to find,

fissures filled with my friends,

hopefully I’ll be the first to find food.

Life here is slow, simple,

beautiful in its brutality,

we’re up to our necks,

in fresh,

cold water,

and little else.

I wish I could tell you more,

or give you some clues,

but you can’t see what I do.

Brood Parasites

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The tools of the trade:

Cryptic plumage,

Hawkish mannerisms,

And a steady supply,

Of child soldiers.

The cuckoo lies in wait,

Standing stealthily,

Avoiding strife,

With her victim’s eventual lapse,

She strikes.

Though they care not for their neighbors,

They do have a knack,

For finding babysitters,

Despite their reputation,

As impolite guests.

The screaming chick,

Sounds like the clutch,

Of hungry children,

It jettisoned.

On the other hand,

In the other hemisphere,

The cowbird makes little effort,

To make its egg inconspicuous,

Instead it relies on mob mentality.

The mom pays a visit,

To her nest of choice,

Which will be destroyed,

At the first sign of resistance,

To their alimony.

If there’s any acrimony,

It isn’t apparent,

As the often very different parent,

Raises the imposter.

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IMAGE CREDITS: 

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/c/cuckoo/

http://jasonking.net/site/brown-headed-cowbird/

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Migration Patterns

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Seven mallard ducks flew in the familiar v-shaped formation they take when coming from or going to far-off places.

The land they cast shadows on grew more and more sparse the further they traversed.

“What a spring this has been,” the Second Lieutenant said with pride, he was sick that day.

The group was well-fed and riding high.

“I know,” piped the First Lieutenant enthusiastically, “I even got some french fries!”

At the apex of the V,  the Colonel glanced at the Lieutenant Colonel incredulously.

“Love those things,” said the Captain.

“Guys, watch yourself out here,” sounded the Lieutenant Colonel.

“Yeah, humans were handing out bread like it was going out of fashion,” said the omega male, no one acknowledged him.

The leader stayed silent.

“We had the park all to ourselves! It was a great spring,” said the Major

There was a whooshing sound, then a smack.

The captain looked behind him, shed contour feathers twirled in the vortex of displaced air.

“Well,” the Colonel said, “seems like our idle chit-chat got our Second Lieutenant eaten by a peregrine falcon,” he said in monotone, “let’s try to keep our mouths shut for a little while, huh?”

DECLASSIFIED: Leash Laws

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You can read the original poem here

Dogs do lots of silly, lovable things.

Not included in that list: pooping in your living room, chewing up your shoes, barking at nothing, ‘asserting their dominance’ over your shin and urinating on the things they feel entitled to.

Can you tell I’m a cat-person?

That’s not entirely accurate, actually.

The way I see it, cat people and dog people exist on a continuum. By my estimation: I’m about 65% cat lover, 35% dog lover.

Why do I prefer cats, barring that I grew up with one? Well, for the reason so many find them odious: they don’t care very much.

Cats don’t feel envious when you don’t give them attention.

Cats don’t go wild when they see more cats outside.

Cats don’t get very large or become strong enough to knock you over.

You pet them, they purr. You feed them, they stick around. You bring them outside, they sunbathe.

Life seems simpler for a cat, and maybe the lack of outward affection makes people feel uneasy. When a dog likes you, it’s pretty unambiguous. When a cat likes you, it feels like an accomplishment.

Dogs need more training than cats do. Some find that rewarding, and I think that’s understandable, but it’s not something I need from a pet.

Cats don’t need to learn the rules, they live beyond them.

But at the end of the day, I’ll be sneezing and sniffling regardless of whether the dander comes from a cat or a dog, so the preference means pretty much nothing.

Vermin

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The spider in the corner,

Of my dorm,

Foreigner,

Hoarder,

With web in disorder.

If I were shorter,

I’d steer clear,

And try not to vear,

Into his hunting gear.

He’s well-equipped,

Works from home,

And quite strict,

When prey roams,

Toward his crypt.

The monster,

Stands,

A stone’s throw away,

Saunters,

On silken-strands,

He’d be easy to slay,

With a magazine,

But that’s mean,

And I’d have to clean,

After.

He keeps,

His heaps,

Tidy,

And tiny,

So I’ll let him stay,

Maybe.

Obligate Carnivore

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I crouched low, and felt the grass rustle up against my empty stomach.

I’m very good at this; it’s what I was born to do.

There stood a hare, ears swiveling, back to me. It hopped toward a red flower.

I’ve never gotten one of these before; they’re supposed to be a lot of trouble to catch.

I couldn’t take my chances, so I used a slower approach than normal.

Right paw first, I slowly tamped down the grass so that it didn’t make a sound.

The hare picked its head up and tore the flower out of the ground; its ears scanned the surroundings.

I took another step.

The hare sat motionless.

I grew impatient, but slowly continued. My tail flowed with the wind.

The hare suddenly stopped eating, sat on its haunches.

I dropped into the grass.

It turned and walked toward another patch of herbs growing near tall grass, all the while the bulb dangled from its mouth by a length of disappearing stem. Still hungry.

When I felt sure it was occupied with eating again, I arched my back and moved forward again.

The hare dropped to the ground and folded his ears.

Now was my time to strike, his guard was down.

I bounded off, eyes widened.

He clearly sensed something, his ears popped back up but he didn’t move a muscle.

I was closing in.

Mouth agape, arms outstretched, claws extended, I leaped toward my prey.

In turn, he jumped straight into the air.

I hit the empty spot where he was and bounced a bit, then he fell onto my back with a sharp “thud,” and knocked me into the dirt on my side.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing much.”

“Not funny,” the hare said with a flick of his nose, “you caught me at a bad time.”

I hissed. He held my legs down, I was pinned.

“But I’m going to be nice,” he said.

I couldn’t do much else but listen, my stomach growled audibly.

“If you promise not to chase me, I won’t have to embarrass you.”

“I’m pretty fast,” I said.

He held his chin high, “sure you are,” he said.

I leaned forward and bit at his neck. Force of habit.

He bobbed out of the way then put his front legs on my head, kicked my face and jumped off of me.

“Last chance,” he said. The field behind him was wide open.

I looked down and noticed some dandelion seeds stuck to my fur. I licked them off and looked at him.

The hare sat staring.

“Choose wisely,”

I jumped suddenly; he ran underneath me and disappeared into the tall grass, yelling obscenities.

Now he’s done it! I dug my claws into the ground and spun around.

The tall grass extended out into the distance.

My stomach gurgled again.

It might go against my nature, but I think I’ll just cut my losses this time.

Hydraulic Jump

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A sudden rise,

In the babbling whitewater,

Runs backwards,

And defies,

The established,

Instability.

Jets spray,

Tourists paddle,

A bear,

Straddles a boulder,

Waiting for trout,

To breach,

Into its open snout,

If it can reach.

The inflatable raft,

Glides over,

The aerated stream,

Rapids,

And drop-offs,

Turning with the bends,

Instead of against them,

Even when they seem to be going,

No place,

It’s not a race,

Just a vacation.