Peacock on rocks, overlooking ocean

One Poem by Jennifer Jean

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We don’t know who killed the peacocks in Palos Verdes. 

We don’t know who garroted, who poisoned with Windex,
who sped up & ran down
the blue-eyed feathers.

Who pellet shot, carbine shot, sling shot, bow & arrowed,
bludgeoned bloody all those things.
Who twisted &

snapped. We love the peacocks in Palos Verdes.
Except when we hate
their mating

screech all summer,
their omelet-sized shit &
gang of males as tall as tall children

slow strutting mid-street—everyday. Everyday
their beak marks edging flora for miles,
their face-off assaults

against their own reflections. We know one of us
hates beauty,
bigger than a bee. I bet we shuffle

up the slopes of Palos Verdes with the guy
whose aim is true. Oh!
The poor, poor peafowl! Over 50 plus

(as of writing)
feather folk are gone. Who
didn’t ask to be here. To be a symbol

of a prior swindle.
To be a flying flower
adorning the borders of

someone’s property. To be strangers to nature.
But—that’s who we are,
right? We bring things home. We move them around town.

We obliterate the fab.




Jennifer JeanJennifer Jean’s collections include Object Lesson (Lily Books) and The Fool (Big Table). She’s also released the resource book Object Lesson: A Guide to Writing Poetry (Lily Books). Her poems and co-translations appear in Poetry, Waxwing, Rattle, Crab Creek, DMQ, On the Seawall, Salamander, The Common, and more. She’s the translations editor at Talking Writing, a consulting editor at the Kenyon Review, a co-translator of Arabic poetry and organizer for the Her Story Is collective, and the new manager of the 24PearlStreet Online Writing Program.

Header image by MAIBYWAY, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Jennifer Jean by Masao Okano.

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