Plague Poems #9
Plague Poems #11

Plague Poems #10


Conspiracy Theory

For Laura McCormick

How quickly we are usurped.

A few weeks in our own zoo
banging on the cages,
occasionally escaping to spread germs and havoc
—and look!
Not just squirrels and rats and foxes
and raccoons and coyotes and bunnies
and bears and ducks and geese
who already cohabit easily
and otherwise with us, but

lions sprawling on South African golf courses,
sunning themselves on the manmade savannah,
rhinos and elephants strolling through Nepal and Thai towns,
taking shortcuts formerly denied them,
deer herds lounging on the green in East London
where the best forage is,
kangaroos hopping down empty Adelaide streets
because they can,
ostrich flocks reasserting themselves everywhere
because they’re pushy birds anyway,
elephant seals sunning on the quays of Argentina
and some poor sod’s small sailboat
like it’s a party, man,
cougars prowling yards from Colorado to South America,
reclaiming their native grounds,
wild boar foraging on the streets of Paris and Arizona,
sheep on the merry-go-rounds in Scotland,
some rarely seen ring-tailed creature in the striped crosswalk in India,
otters, capybara, mountain goats frolicking
in the middle of cities—
reasserting their ownership.

We have always thought this world was ours
with our opposable thumbs, our big brains,
our upright posture, our tools and weapons.
But our fellow inhabitants
have been sending in the occasional bear or fox or coyote
to challenge that notion—more often, lately—as they see us
wobbling on our hind legs, less sure of ourselves than before,
muttering about climate change, and hot zones, and “that lab in Wuhan.”

Don’t blame the pangolins,
or the Homo sapiens in lab coats. All this time,
it’s been the bats
brewing our demise.

‒May 2, 2020, Brooklyn
©Lee Kottner


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