Jane Zwart


“The soul is like a wild animal.” Parker J. Palmer 
It is not Kafka’s roach 
beached on a man’s bed 
and it isn’t the creature
from whom the regent 
nicked his nickname,
the kenning Lionheart.
It is not the gamete
sloshing inside its plaster 
bassinet, not the egg
muscled from isthmus
to nest; nor is it
the monster roughed in,
ruffed in waves, whom 
mapmakers once drew to 
keep the weak from the sea.
It is not the ape, fingers 
vitiligo-pink; not the rat 
wise to the maze.
It is not the mouse,
nor a vole, nor a vulture.
It is not the lapdog, not 
the wolf pup, not a hyena 
shrived of mirth. No:
It is the sum of these
and something more.
The soul is a cryptid.