Corvid cleanlinesss

(Crows and many other bird species practice “ant bathing”)

At the weekly meeting
Of the evolutionary design committee
The corvid engineers announced
That their new project
Was nearly complete.
All that was needed to bring
Their long years of product development
To fruition
Was an efficient method
For the bird to clean itself.
From the back of the room
A young intern piped up
“Why not use what’s at hand?
Why not have them
Cover themselves with ants?”
There was a hush, there were gasps
There were wild hurrahs
At the pure brilliance,
The elegant symbiotic simplicity,
Of this new idea.
So the team created a beta version
Did extensive testing
Found that the ant solution
Worked beautifully
And began producing crows
By the millions.
Today few remember
That neophyte designer.
Few recall how she went on
To originate the concept
Of the duck bill for the platypus
Of the marsupial pouch
Of parthenogenesis and bioluminescence
And an ingenious synaptic loop
For the human neural network
To divert and dissipate
Destructive impulses.
Unfortunately that last one
Never made it into production.

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s newest book is And What Will We Sing? a collection of protest and social justice poems spanning the last 25 years. He podcasts at and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.