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On April Fools Day The Giraffes Are in Charge & They Are Poets

“Wouldn’t it be unique to have a calf that day?”

—Zookeeper Jordan Patch on April the Giraffe


Today, this very first day of April, the giraffes are in charge, and they’ve decided to write poems. Matter of perspective, they say. Consider their lack of short-sightedness. Certainly tough-lipped. Reach: a given. Thorns of acacia trees are no match for the lengthy, resilient tongue of an animal who plucks iambs and spondees from the leaves.

Today all the giraffes are storing poems in their necks for the long winter years ahead.

Today all the giraffes are pregnant with poems in honor of April the Giraffe who gave birth today to twin poems who declare that no earthworms shall ever die again on the sidewalk, sun-parched and lost. Henceforth, they are giraffe poet tongues that regenerate puddles and potholes in which giraffe-worms float lying on their backs, looking at the stars in the middle of the day.

Today we all get second chances.

Today we all get to live once more, with—

Today all the giraffes are storing entire collections of future-verse in their necks for the long winter years ahead.

Today there is a name for this exact sort of thing, and it’s written purely in the spots on giraffe skin. Sound it out: [                   ]. That’s exactly what you call it. Today the giraffes paid me a visit to say it’s okay to keep writing the word giraffee with that extra “e.”  The “e” is not completely silent. The “e” is not completely half-shriek. Is this even still the same animal? Is it a new species? There are currently great debates about this. Kaveh Akbar says: call a giraffe a giraffe, while Jennifer Chang tells us of a giraffe named Never, while the giraffes are batting their eyelashes at Carolina Ebeid into poems anchored to the sky as she talks to them about the interiors. How’s this: humans and giraffes each have seven bones in their neck, for each day of the week. One part of that sentence is true. The other I said today when the giraffes came to visit and ate all the leaves that were meant for tea. They did not apologize but batted their eyelashes at me, and I forgot the long winter years ahead as they scooped me up in loving giraffe eyelash embrace. Each lash too is actually a miniature-sized giraffe. The real word for eyelash is actually giraffee. But it’s pronounced: [           ].

Some of this essay is thus far true.

All of this is for the long winter years ahead.

Today it’s still spring although Oliver de la Paz would take issue with that, and if you look outside now, you’ll see a giraffe chasing a quatrain of lions in the rain. All the lions are the same refrain of autotomy: they drop their tails and their tails turn into that wondrous last line you think ends your poem. Until it becomes a poem itself. Until it’s a lion again. Until it’s the entire pride. Praise be to our giraffe poem hunters.

Today giraffes have replaced all the cats in Murakami novels and stories, and Murakami is still waiting at the bottom of a well for his wind-up giraffe to return home. He drinks the tea that I cannot make because the giraffes have gotten into my cabinets too and eaten all the tea leaves I’ll ever own. And I’m learning the history of poetry watching the great gulps pass down their necks. And I touch the patterns and learn the world is many worlds, as numerous as all the spots on the giraffe neck whose borders aren’t borders but tongues which say the most wonderful foolish and true things about the natural world which is and is not the same as home.

Kaveh, today, I’m calling home a home, and it looks like a giraffee, extra e.

I also confess— though I’ve professed love for a certain Icelandic horse I knew less than a week— that today I am too a giraffe(e) who hails from a proud line of rabbinical giraffe scholars as well as giraffe fisherman who showed me how to make a splint for the broken wings of wild amazons crossing back and over the border. Today all those amazons confess they too are giraffes. I never left them. I still call them home. I am still with you too, Jerusalem, and putting on a kettle for the nana freshly washed on the counter which has been completely eaten by my giraffe company as we take turn holding April’s giraffe newborns who are really poems that the world would rather be writing.

The world would rather be a giraffe altogether.

The world is an unfinished poem whose ending could only be picked off the highest branch that no one can reach— save for a giraffe who leaves it so it might become a tree.

Lately the kind of poems I want to be writing are letters I handwrite to friends and hand over to the giraffe for speedy delivery.

Please forgive the lateness of these letters; Queens has turned into an open woodlands filled with delicious and tempting acacia trees, so my giraffe delivery service is delayed.

Some of this is true.

All of this written was under the quiet guiding light that is giraffffffffeeeeee.

All of this I pray keeps you in the long winter years ahead, my dear poets.