I saw them from the canal, nosing
their way through a spare enclosure behind
the zoo. Dusk gray, two of a kind,
and utterly unimposing,

they were aimlessly
crossing their corner of Regent’s Park
like a pair of sullen castoffs from the ark
and wearing their dirt shamelessly.

Who could blame them for their ennui?
They were just the second
warthogs, their features having
    been reckoned
by some zookeeper as not quite worthy

of being seen. Oh to be prima ballerinas!
Not just understudies
sent back to paddocks muddied
by packs of hyenas

but actual queens!
Believe me when I say there was
    nothing shoddy
about them. They were half head, half body,
and their tusks were terribly clean.