Oyster Boy Review 04  
  Spring 1996
» Cover

» Art
» Poetry
» Essays
» Contributors

» Oyster Boy Review
» Levee 67


Thylacines on Film

Kevin McGowin

All it takes is a couple of thylacines,
Crawling up out of some drying brush
In the bushlands, and you've got a photograph
That'll let you float for a lifetime,

Get you a spot in Natural History,
Move specialists to call you up and ask
How the hell you got the shot,
And how you didn't scare them away:

How you didn't scare away two extinct,
Wolf-like marsupials, who haven't been photographed
Since 1922, how you proved that it wasn't a fake
Because you had your camcorder running too,

And caught them, in vivid color. Not one,
But two: Two creatures the Tasmanian devils
Almost killed off, before evolution took over,
Before it revamped the species,

Into a rare and reclusive thylacine,
That is rarely seen but who's not taking any shit,
A thylacine inured of the lures of prime-time
Television, but who deserves  it,

Damn it, who needs it—hell, its been
A long time since these jokers got any exposure—
And I mean exposure!  Developed, up there
On a 35mm slide, in a room full of grad students

Worried about their careers and their sexual progress,
Lectured to by a professor who only sees
The face the thylacines choose to show when they
Turn their faces to the camera,

While holding the rest back. Holding it back,
To save it all up to finally spread out in front
Of a naked world, one that is proved wrong:
One in which every other animal is a thylacine,

Right there, pawing, howling, dancing in the Tasmanian air,
Letting all out with a grand hurrah,
Clawing madly at the cases of film,
And exposing it all to the setting sun.