for Cassie Lewis
It’s true that one can find the common badger
In the United States and also Canada.
As evidence, just think about the football team
Named after it, which, suited up in red,
Is to its opponents as an overture
Is to the intermission that follows.
If there is anything at all that follows
From this false analogy, it is that no badger
Is capable of composing an overture
As deep as all outdoors—although Canada
Has to end somewhere, its red
And white flag pulled northward by a team
Of faithful dogs whose tough hides teem
With fleas and courage. Let each one follow
The one before until the snow goes red.
There are some kids who think a dog’s a badger,
Reaching out to pet the low Canada
Of a snarling head, as an overture
Toward taking one home: then it’s over. Sure,
No harm is done, until the jilted brats team
Up to open Bistro Canada,
Serving a loin of pork that could follow
Even the worst glass of ale. But badger
Is where they draw the line; they’ve read
Those books in which a badger dressed in red
Conducts the 1812 Overture,
With cannons that remind every hearing badger
Of the living and the dead. You can join the team
Of qualified accountants in the kitchen who follow
Every downbeat with the bellow, “Canada!”,
Or sink deeper in the mud. Oh, Canada,
When the last list of carnivores is read
Aloud in the stadium, will you follow
Along with half-moon glasses, the overture
To Faust in your head as your earth-clad team
Takes the field behind its armored badger?
No Canada will save you then from the overture
Of the unread band and the tumbling team
That follows, saying badger, badger, badger.