The Blessing of Animals

Andrew Tonkovich

And the confusing of the fruit trees. The worrying of the bees. The distracting of the ravens.

The misnaming of the rhododendron. The teasing of the spiders. The flipping over of the beetles onto their backs.

The capturing of the roly-poly bugs. The forgetting of the dogs in the car. The anthropomorphizing of the snake.

The objectifying of the cow. The baiting of the bear. The misplacing of the dodo.

The interrupting of the salmon. The overlooking of the polar bear. The forgetting of the snowy leopard.

The yelling at of the wild grasses. The hiding of the dandelions. The misplacing also of the shark.

The beatifying of the peacock. The invoking of the cockroach. The sneaking up behind of the kitty cat.

The commending of the crickets. The absolving of the swine. The baptizing of the bison.

And then, yes, the forgiving of them all for their sin of being slaves.


Andrew Tonkovich is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of California, Irvine, and editor of the West Coast literary journal Santa Monica Review. His essays, short stories, and reviews have appeared most recently in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Faultline, Ecotone, and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013. He hosts a weekly literary arts program on KPFK Pacifica Radio in Southern California.

Andrew Tonkovich

Andrew Tonkovich is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of California, Irvine, and editor of the West Coast literary journal Santa Monica Review. His essays, short stories, and reviews have appeared most recently in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Faultline, Ecotone, and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013. He hosts a weekly literary arts program on KPFK Pacifica Radio in Southern California.


A poem from the February/March 2015 issue of Free Inquiry.

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