Kin to all kinds
Of fancied hybrids—minotaur
   And wyvern, cockatrice,
Kyrin and griffin—this
Monkey-tailed, dragon-chested
   Prankish twist of whimsy
Outshines that whole composited
Menagerie, for this sequined
   Equine wonder, howsoever

Quite palpably
Exists! Within his moted
   Medium, tail loosely laced
Round the living hitching post
Of a coral twig, he feeds at leisure
   As befits a mild, compromising
Creature with no arms of defense
Save that of, in his knobby
   Sparsity, appearing

Like that chess piece
He so resembles, he glides
   With a forking, oblique
Efficiency, the wing-like
Fins behind his ears aflutter;
   And like that lone
Unmastered steed to whom
The word-weary everywhere
Look for replenishment—
   That is to say, our own

Like-winged, light-winged
Pegasus—he can be taken
   As an embodiment
Of the obscure fount
And unaccountable buoyancy
   Of artistic inspiration.
Yet defined by neither,
Finally, by nothing afloat
   On the long, circulating
   Seas of creation,

Is this mailed male
Who bears in his own brood pouch
   A female’s transferred conceptions,
And seems to move (those fins
By turns transparent) through
   Telekinetic promptings, while his
Turreted, nonsynchronous
Eyes are taking in two
   Views at once. How appropriate
   That gaze of his is—

For he conveys
A sense of living at least two
   Simultaneous lives, of always
Having a mucilaginous
If metaphorical foot
   Planted in a neighboring, renum-
bered dimension, one whose
Dim-sensed presence releases our
   Ineffable but hopeful
   Yearnings for some

Further release.
In his otherworldliness
   He heartens us…. If there’s to be
Any egress for you and me
From the straitening domain
   Of the plausible, what course
More likely than astride the plated
Shoulders of this shimmering
   Upright swimmer, this
   Waterbound winged horse?

This Issue

June 13, 1985