For an Amorous Lady
Most mammals like caresses, in the sense in which
we usually take the word, whereas other creatures,
even tame snakes, prefer giving to receiving them.
-- From a Natural-History Book
The pensive gnu, the staid aardvark,
Accept caresses in the dark;
The bear, equipped with paw and snout;
Would rather take than dish it out.
But snakes, both poisonous and garter,
In love are never known to barter;
The worm, though dank, is sensitive:
His noble nature bids him give.
But you, my dearest, have a soul
Encompassing fish, flesh, and fowl.
When amorous arts we would pursue,
You can, with pleasure, bill or coo.
You are, in truth, one in a million,
At once mammalian and reptilian.
= Heather C. Liston