In My Next Life I Want to Return as an Animal

by Bob Bradshaw
The Writer's Block
Second Place, June 2021
Judged by Sarah Carleton

I’d not be a camel,
though each morning the sun
breaks over his hump. Where’s the glory
in carrying your baggage?

Maybe a Bengal tiger
sprawled on your Persian rug,
daring boyfriends
to call on you.

Or perhaps a gator
— big rudder of a tail
patrolling your pool,

discouraging poolside parties
and skinny dipping.

The chameleon in me wants to return
as a gecko on your wall,
eavesdropping on hints
of yet another lover in your life.

Truth is, I long to return
as a howler monkey
belting out my heartache
whenever you walk by.

"In My Next Life I Want to Return as an Animal" impressed me with its light touch and clever use of metaphor. The poem flashes conflicting moods of protectiveness, jealousy, and anguish, all in the guise of various creatures. The language is simple and playful, almost like a children's book, but a complex adult story emerges from between the lines. --Sarah Carleton