Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thirteen Ways to Kill a Zebra



(Dedicated to Wallace Stevens, with apologies; and to Ubisoft, developers of Far Cry 2, who apparently read my mind.)

One:
Mortar.
I am a poor judge of trajectory,
And miss you four times.
I do succeed, however,
In igniting the tall grass around you,
And you are engulfed in flames.

Two:
An old Soviet sniper rifle.
Hardly sporting.

Three:
While fleeing a demo job
At a petrol plant
(in a sweet army jeep)
You are a flash of stripes
And a dent in my hood.

Four:
Same jeep,
but this time,
your friend,
who was following you.

Five:
A rigged mortar shell,
Hidden under a Sequoia tree.
Surprise, stripey.

Six:
You bend your bar-coded neck
To draw from the river.
You know the secret of life.
But did you know
That this boat
Has a grenade launcher?

Seven:
It wasn’t me.
This time, it was their jeep.
I just watched through my monocular.

Eight:
Your stripes—
They intimidate me.
Me, and my machete.

Nine:
Dart gun!
No worries:
You’re just asleep.
That is, until the lions find you.

Ten:
Moving targets
Are irrelevant
To a load of buckshot.

Eleven:
You and your hooves!
You exhaust me.
Anti-tank rocket.

Twelve:
This gun
Can stop a car from one kilometer.
You feeling Lucky, Stripes?

Thirteen:
Wryly, you asked
They Shoot Zebras, Don’t They?
No, I replied.
I do.