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The Baby Cockatrice
I'd read of the vast reptiles, maybe seen
Some musty drawings of them, years ago.
The rumor that such creatures have once been
Will make a child fear, idly, They are, now.
Preoccupied and happy, I had fi shed
Well through a June day on Commotion Creek
And had my limit; now the water rushed
In shadow, mostly. Almost at the lake
I climbed the bank, tired, quiet. There he was.
He happened; total; there. He barely lay
A fi nger long -- bone mouth and ruff and claws,
The plated body, and shock on shock, the eye.
And once I turned, all I had been stayed there
Whole in a gaze where no more could occur.