This poem is brought to you by the letter C.
Cattle egret, Big Bird says, cetacean,
the word squeaking like wet whale skin.
Big Bird keeps it real—his thug-life strut.
Do you like giants?
Only the small ones, the boy says.
Chinese catfish, cassava, cassowary.
He’s an intellectual, spends his days off
in coffeehouses, crossing and uncrossing
the long orange tubes of his legs, discussing
Chomsky, conditional freedom, and Cervantes
with anyone who will listen. He marches
against the war, a thousand people
at his back, chanting
Catastrophe, cruise missile, children.
Big Bird refuses to fly south for the winter,
puts on his scarf and heads out the door.
You can’t fool me, the boy says.
I know Big Bird’s not real.
It’s just a suit with a little bird inside.