Why I Want to Own a Platypus

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I have this collection of wooden

birds from Bolivia. Parrot,

toucan, woodpecker, hummingbird,

owl, goose, duck, flamingo and a flock 

of small, nameless warblers

perch on convenient spaces

around my apartment. All native

to South America, they stir

memories and fill this indoor

air with silent song. On my last

trip to La Paz, I noticed a few

wooden platypuses for sale in the tourist

shops. Of course, I resisted. For one

thing, these beasts are every bit

as much tourists as the folks

who would buy them. Australian, 

probably. Definitely not native.

For another thing, they look more

like cartoons than real animals.

And finally, in spite of its weird

birdishness—ridiculous bill, webbed feet—

the platypus seems to be a mammal.

So no platypus adorns the fake forest 

of my living room. But now

I sort of regret it, and I've determined

to purchase a platypus

on my next visit south. Why?

1. Tourists have become native

to Bolivia, essential to her economy,

not to be disdained.

2. Great name, platypus. The fact

that I could not spell it

without Mr. Webster's help—and 

had a hard time even locating

it—enhances its value.

3. Anything that, just by being itself,

makes me laugh deserves cherishing.

At this time of life, I need a platypus.


- Nancy Thomas



boliviafunlaughlight-heartedplatypussouth americatourist

◄ Poem 64 of "Because of This"

New White Urban Pioneer ►


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Fernwood Press

Mon 25th Mar 2019 20:38

Alan, I love this poem! It's amazing! Thank you so much for sharing.

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Alan Travis Braddock

Fri 22nd Mar 2019 08:07

Hello Fernwood! It's an old poem but you might like it. It used to appear in anthologies, thanks for reminding me of it.
PS Platypusses come from Tasmania.

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Fernwood Press

Fri 22nd Mar 2019 03:14

Thank you ?

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Hazel ettridge

Thu 21st Mar 2019 08:57

Love your 3 rationales for getting a platypus.

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