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Kate Gale

My Giraffe

After the sea rose,

We ate love for breakfast.


We climbed ‘round this small room,

plants growing in windows. 


Electricity gone out.  We had no light. 

Scrambled through blackness.


Played ping pong in the dark; stars came out.

Vines climbed round the stove, chandelier, furniture.  


We ran out of heat. Burnt the table legs for firewood.

Rode away from the house on horseback.


Thick dark around us. Rode down into the valley.

Slept in the woods by the stream; camping for days.


In the valley where the glaciers melted.

Our footprints in virgin soil.


Our marriage, a wild place, outside the rooms. 

Under the sky, we danced in trees.


We were giraffes, kissing in the dark.

A dive of blue tongues into mouths that went on forever.


Tongues swimming.  Swimming is what we’re best at. 

We didn’t sleep in beds.  We slept on the ground.


The ground is what we’re best at, the ground, the dirt.

The blue tongues, the swirl of long dancing in the forest.


Our marriage is a dance in darkness.  Nobody else under this sky.

No one can help you.  No manuals. No keys. No threads.


In the long dance of blue tongues. As giraffes sway in the forest,

in the dark, the sky watching, holding the dance in its dark blue sky hands.


My love, it’s been so long with you, so long of lying down in this grass,

of having no one to help us, of having just you.


You are not the man I married.  You are not my husband of ten years ago.

I’ve seen so many of you.  I’ve held you all in my arms, my giraffe, my love.


You don’t know a couple unless you’ve watched them alone.

Us alone? We’re light; we’re shooting stars.  We’re the Fourth of July.


We’re champagne bottles opening.  We’re tongues touching.

We’re Nina singing and singing out the last drop of love in the universe.


We’re two giraffes running across Africa; if you see us alone, you’d say,

Who do they think they are with that much joy?

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Dr. KATE GALE is co-founder and Managing Editor of Red Hen Press and Editor of the Los Angeles Review.  She teaches in the Low Residency MFA program at the University of Nebraska in Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction.


She is the author of Under a Neon Sun forthcoming from Three Lives Press in New York.  


She is the author of The Loneliest Girl from the University of New Mexico Press and of seven books of poetry including The Goldilocks Zone from the University of New Mexico Press in 2014, and Echo Light from Red Mountain in 2014, and six librettos including Rio de Sangre, a libretto for an opera with composer Don Davis, which had its world premiere October 2010 at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee.  

She speaks on independent publishing at schools including USC, Harvard, Columbia and Oxford University.  Her opera in process is and an opera on Che Guevara is in process with Cuban composer Armando Bayolo.  Her opera on Esther written for the singer Hila Plitmann is in process with the composer Mark Abel.

Bear Review


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