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The Hicock Girls in the Front Pew Address the Platypus

Patricia Young


How we dismissed you as a beaver-tailed prank,
later cited you as proof of God's sense of humour.

How that humour has lately been lacking. At long
last you've given up your secrets and 2 million years

is a blink of His eye. How you excite the zoologists,
prowling the gum tree forests, searching for clues.

The new preacher rails on, our dresses stick to our skin.
Evolutionary relic, we're tangled in seaweed, raw

as the tide. How your genetic code is a slow shuffle
across Kangaroo Island. You're the nearest thing to

a missing link. How explain God at the moment of your
creation — drunken sailor, madcap boy, genius clown

with a goofy touch? Your complex chromosomes —
5 X's and 5 Y's - mean what? Twenty-five theoretical

sexes is no laughing matter. This morning the man
at the alter sways to the rhythm of his own voice. He

rises and falls. We rise and fall too. Metaphorically speaking,
we lay an egg. Unassailable odd duck, your venomous

leg spurs contradict webbed toes, your lizard genes
are flighty as a bird's. Look at us! Just 2 — male and female.

No other fabulous possibilities, no other variations
on human. God help us, we can't stop undressing him,

wanting him 25 ways. How our reptilian brains sink
into mud. Our 4-chambered hearts steer us like rudders.



Patricia Young's works copyright © to the author.


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