We May Name Them

We may give them names
but they are still monsters –
whales, sharks, bears, crocodiles,
formless and glass-skinned behemoths
of the lower oceans; we will
find them and we will name them,
we will see this as our mastery of
nature, of monstrous and mangling
beasts, tamed and contained,
a name in the mouth of mankind.

We may give them names
but they still have tusks, fangs,
a man may feel nothing to hear the name
“tiger”
until it is shouted in fearful night
and he will feel his blood
thinning to slick an endless gully –
and he will not forget
the sight of a body,
much like his own,
rent, torn, chewed flesh dripping –
a name in the mouth of a monster.