Bruce Bennett


How I Acquired My Pet Librarian

“Please minimize what you touch”
—Sign in a library

I did, I did, and things grew small
till some were barely there at all.

The books, the chairs, the tables, they
shrank quickly in a scary way.

I felt my power, and it grew.
I looked around for something new,

And spied Miss Jones, who tried to flee.
I touched, then took her home with me.


“So … this species (Spring Beauty) is ‘protandrous,’
meaning ‘first male.’ By being first one sex, then
another, it reduces self-pollination and enhances the
likelihood of outcrossing….

Breeding with yourself (selfing) is a very severe form
of inbreeding. After all, there is no one more related
to you than you!”
—Botanist Brent Smith
, in an email about wildflowers

Breeding with oneself
is not the way to go.
It’s self-defeating, self-
ish, stupid. Even so,

It’s tempting not to search
uncertainly and wait,
when right there, within reach—
Behold!—one’s perfect mate!

“The birds know what’s up.”

“Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro bitten by emu-like bird during Covid isolation in Brasilia”

Attacked by a rhea? For what?
The case should be open and shut.
Who knows what he heard,
That furious bird,
But bless him, and long may he strut!

Bruce Bennett is the author of numerous collections of poetry and poetry chapbooks. His most recent book is Just Another Day in Just Our Town: Poems New And Selected, 2000-2016 (Orchises Press, 2017). He is Emeritus Professor of English at Wells College and lives in Aurora, New York. His poetry website is