Detroit Animalia

Monday, January 15, 2018
The pit bull’s snarl bays the block, its neck knotted to the chain-link fence.
Jordan says we should help, that it’s not a snarl but a plea. The reddened
scars around the mane from the tug of the dog’s ideation of escape allow
for myriad tortured fantasies, but I insist we keep walking. In some parts
of town, nature has reclaimed the dead mufflers and barren auto bodies
into newfound nurseries. Lush and uncontrolled, how quickly the ground
demands the last word. Pheasants roam the wild lands, unafraid of you
or the occasional car bulleting down Lafayette. Behold their regal crowns:
cobalt, carmine, and corn silk. Their tails spearing from the base, doubling
their size. They must not have heard the news; I envy their inability to know.
Soon, their habitat will be bulldozed for the next crop of condominiums.
And perhaps those heavy metal machines are their own sort of animal, too.
How they congregate near the waterfront, stack themselves high among
the canopy. How they weave new nests from the fragments of former lives,
repurpose and flourish. I wonder why every Detroit story must involve blood,
must mention rust. The shedding skin, by decision or deed, sits beneath us,
a groundswell. Temporal terrain where a new breed slurps the Earth clean.
Where old dogs face the season, shackled. Where flightless birds rummage
for permanence. Grinding motors signal a stirring ecosystem. Where there
is neither coal nor canary––and yet––survival is the most coveted instinct.
Monday, January 15, 2018