The rhythm of predation is a sine wave.
Between predator and prey it winds
like a whip-crack in slow motion.
The time has come to praise the prey
who fill the guts of the never-satisfied
for whom winning is all, and nothing.
Praise the squeak and the telling tremble.
Praise their begging and their shame.
Praise their jugular fullness, the sweet red pulse
the ever-open spigot of their submission.
Let go the lamentations. Let go the pity.
All hail the awkward and the addlebrained
the boneheaded, the broken-down, the bonkers.
All hail the cracked and the cuckoo
the lame, the lunatic, and the losers.
Here’s to the nutjobs, the spastic
the peculiar and the outcasts.
For them, the wedgie and the booby prize
the tar, the feathers and the narrow rail.
Tip your jaw and let praise fall for prey.
History is written on the vellum of their bellies.
Leslie McGrath is the author of Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage, a poetry collection, and the forthcoming Out From the Pleiades: a picaresque novella in verse.
Listen to Leslie McGrath and Valerie Duff discuss “In Praise of Prey” on our Contributors in Conversation podcast.