Syllables of Drought
It was a wetter Africa you knew,
ancient giraffe —
more greenery, the sky a wider blue,
your longer horns more often used —
when your full size was less than half
today’s. The climate changed; you grew.
More than the tongue, the spots, your neck
is what your name has come to mean. When said,
the sounds stretch out, long As from Arabic,
the hissing, slurring F which spreads
just like your neck in centuries of drought.
And if your paradise returned, would you
revert? For language takes safaris, too:
a wetter word, you’re shortened to a shout.
Written by Mary Alexandra Agner of Pantoums and Persistence.