Tavye Neese





I can feel the world about to fall 
off the edge of a precipice. 

The hermit crab makes 
its home in a plastic

doll’s head. The swan 
has gathered grocery  
sacks as nest 
to lay her empty eggs.

An orca carried her 

dead calf above 
the waterline for seventeen days

because her grief 
is deeper than the Pacific. 

I know you don’t want 

this poem void of dancing 
bears and circuses. 

You want cotton candy,
train rides around 


the zoological park. You want 
elephant rides, carnival tunes, dogs who 

never bite or bark.


Originally published in silence, by The University of Canberra’s International Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Prize, 2019.