May/June 2019 • Vol. XLI No. 3 Nature’s Nature |

White Rhino

The last of my kind, one of the last lovers of flowers and the lawns of the northern grasses, and certainly one of the few able to rub backsides with the baobab and the century-nearing oak still surviving in the yard. The trick is stone, to look like something broken from a mountain, something so leftover so as not to be alive, yet resemble in demeanor dream anger, the kind that wakes you out of breath talking to yourself in that language that starts in the belly and the bowel. Old age is a disguise, the hard outside, the soft inside. Even the plated armor is turning dust, then one foot after the other, neuropathy my gravity, the footprint larger, deeper. I hardly recognize myself except in memory, except when the mind overwhelms the lonely body. So I lumber on, part of me empty, part of me filled with longing — I’m half-blind but see what I see, the half sun on the hill. How long a life is too long, as I take my time from here to there, the one world dried-out dista

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Stanley Plumly’s most recent book of poems is Orphan Hours (W.W. Norton, 2012). His collection Old Heart won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2015, his book of prose The Immortal Evening won the Truman Capote Prize for Literary Criticism. Plumly is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. In 2010 he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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