Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Evolution

Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Evolution

Article excerpt

No matter how many times the game wardens belted its nose,

dragged it to the bed of their truck, and drove it back out

to Kliebert's farm, the gator found its way back,

back to the same grass between the old City Hall

and the Daiquiri Shop. Somewhere in its pecan-shell brain,

it knew this spot, smack in the middle of town, as home.

Maybe it was the smell of the feed plant upwind,

or the magnetism coming off the train tracks

so close to the junction. Maybe this was where it toothed

itself out of its egg a quarter century ago.

Whatever, it would cross a mile of silt, climb fences, and dodge cars

to press its belly there. And nothing could shake it off that need.

Eventually, it was the wardens who gave up their ways

and built a pen around it as it lay, with a pool

on one end and plenty of shade for it to get out of the sun. …

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