The Hippo

            is solo, hobo, incognito,
tow boulders curving out of dettol-murk,
in a zoo his photo advertises,
doing a sponsered sitting-still all day.
Stop being a cliché, hippos, or I won’t
 
write a poem about you. Then you’ll be sorry.
What is your body but the verb To wallow?  
What is the watre but a part of self?
Google says ypi can cruch a Ford Sierra
between your jaws. They don’t say how to test this.
 
Candyfloss-high boys crowd your glass, betting
they could hold their breathe underwater longer,
they could leap from one boulder to another.
I abandon you
for the giraffes, stupid as window cleaners,
 
the lions, sunshine with teeth,
but keep coming back:
if you were to rise, show your eyes, your mouth,
would you have Martin Sheen’s mud-crazy face,
breathing smoke-water in Apocalypse Now?
 
Closing time. One last go. O please, hippo,
don’t be so self-effacing, so tight fisted.
Come on out, don’t you know
we love you? Wait. Is that a flash of flesh,
a hippos peepshow, or are you still snoozing?
 
A little girl says, Dad, that island’s moving.

from My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014), © Jonathan Edwards 2014, used by permission of the author

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1Evel Knievel Jumps Over my Family

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3The Voice in which my Mother Read to Me

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4How to Renovate a Morris Minor

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5The Death of Doc Emmett Brown in Back to the Future

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6Lance Corporal Arthur Edwards (1900-1916)

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7My Uncle Walks to Work, 1962

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8Half-time, Wales vs Germany, Cardiff Arms Park, 1991

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9Anatomy

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11View of Valleys High Street through a Café Window

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12Colliery Row

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13Chartist Mural, John Frost Square, Newport

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14In John F Kennedy International Airport

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15Girl

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16Song

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17The Bloke in the Coffee Shop

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18The Hippo

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19Nun on a Bicycle

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20The Bloke Selling Talk Talk in the Arcade

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21Starbucks Name Tag Says Rhian

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22The Performance

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10View of Valleys from a Hill

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2Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren in Crumlin for the Filming of Arabesque June 1965

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