Poems by Hilary Sideris

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Dwarf Elephant

by Hilary Sideris

From Canary Fall 2013

Hilary lives in Brooklyn, near Prospect Park, which lies on a ridge of terminal moraine that used to be under a sheet of ice one thousand feet thick.

To Sicily before Sicilians,
he ambulated at low tide, or
likelier—his kind being born

to snorkel—swam, ten tons
of him, to thrive by shrinkage,
finally to fifty pounds, as per

the island rule: fauna diminish
on an unattached landmass.
Boar-sized, he grazed

on beach grass, played
in sea foam, & could feed
a human tribe for days.


by Hilary Sideris

From Canary Spring 2013

Neither an even nor
an odd-toed ungulate,

the Litoptern, or simple
ankle, Darwin stumbled

on appeared a cross
between giraffe & camel—

humpless, horse-mouthed.
No speed, no herd could

keep her on the South
American continent,

safe from a saber-toothed
feline who craved

her slender neck’s
sweet underside.

Passenger Pigeon

by Hilary Sideris

From Canary Summer 2013

Once so numerous on earth,
colossal flocks blocked out
the sun, this slender racer,

clocking sixty miles per hour,
fed on seeds, laid eggs in forests
of savage undergrowth.

Under nests we set fires,
stuffed our pillows with her
plumage, fed her flesh to pigs.

Last seen in the Cincinnati Zoo,
her body let her soul go
on the eve of the Great War.

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