The Animal in that Country

By Margarete Atwood

In that country the animals

have the faces of people:

the ceremonial

cats possessing the streets

the fox run

politely to earth, the huntsmen

standing around him, fixed

in their tapestry of manners

the bull, embroidered

with blood and given

an elegant death, trumpets, his name

stamped on him, heraldic brand

because

(when he rolled

on the sand, sword in his heart, the teeth

in his blue mouth were human)

he is really a man

even the wolves, holding resonant

conversations in their

forests thickened with legend.

            In this country the animals

            have the faces of

            animals.

            Their eyes

            flash once in car headlights

            and are gone.

            Their deaths are not elegant.

            They have the faces of

            no-one.

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