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 poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His most recent books are To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World, and Cancer Cantata. With his wife Cynthia, he produced the award-winning documentary film "Outside In," and with the MIRC film collective, made the film "Por Que Venimos." His interviews with soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were made into the book "About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War." He lives in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.