The Giraffe
by Bob Bradshaw


Here where the slightest edge
in speed can save a life,
the giraffe moves slowly.
Her tongue is as agile
as an elephant's
sensitive trunk,
stripping leaves.
She lives on salads.
She moves with the slow
pace of a shopper
in Beverly Hills,
the savanna laid out
like a plush rug
welcoming
her.

Even at the waterhole
the splashed color
of the giraffe
rarely blurs. Others,
nervous, look for a
quick exit. But
legs splayed she
bends gently down
to sip from the cup
of water that is
the savanna's
watering hole.
Others belly up
to it. Muddied
they are unprepared
for the lions'
sprint.

She
refuses to be rushed.
She is poised, patient. She looks
as if she could wait all day
for an open-roofed taxi.
She never appears
exhausted. She
rarely lies down.
From her height
wild dogs must look
like puppies. Hyenas
annoying dogs.
And lions are wary
of her deadly
hoofs. The giraffe
is rarely panicked.
She sniffs a bouquet
of leaves. She
slips her purplish
tongue into the
delightful
air.







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