Cate Cowie was born on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Currently, she lives in Illinois. She is a 2015 Callaloo Writing Workshop graduate.
The White Rhino
Night sky on July fourth eve,
fireworks pop over Navy Pier, and we dance
on the park fountain
Rihanna bellows in the background, our red plastic
wine-stained cups lost in the grass.
Later, you vent about your fear of extinction,
the expense of it all, how the men
you are an only child.
You tell me about an article you read
about a white rhino, how the researchers corralled
his daughter and granddaughter so he could get it in, but
these females don’t give in so easily and even when he succeeded,
he couldn’t stay mounted for the necessary hour,
and you can’t imagine the last of a thing,
and what that means. . . to be the last of a thing.
After his failed attempts, the white rhino
stands under the dry-blue sky
munching on the leaves of a shrub tree,
his face bloodied and bloated.
You use the old trick to bring us home.
After the funeral, I chase your scent to the shore’s edge.
Remember our last day together—
you kissed me hard, sloppy wet, rolled my body around
until I landed back-flat on the shore.
Today, I listen to hotels pump out bodies.
You are so full now.
But I carry you in my bones—an accent a thing one stifles
for survival but still it flails about undead.