Black and White by Joanna Lilley

Do poachers always use helicopters?
There are two types of poachers.
Professional poachers and subsistence poachers.  

Do poachers sometimes argue over who
will carry the saw and who will do the cutting?
Yes. Professional poachers are very well-equipped.
They use night-vision scopes, tranquilizer guns
and chainsaws.  

How much are the women in Malaysia 
paid to grind the rhino horn into powder?
Rich people keep boxes of rhino-horn powder
in their bedroom drawers. They sprinkle 
it in their wine as an aphrodisiac.  

Is the powder like sand or salt or sugar 
or talc or ash?
It’s a myth that rhino horn powder 
can cure cancer.  

Can rhino horn powder really cure hangovers,
nosebleeds and arthritis?
The West African Black Rhinoceros 
was declared extinct in 2011.  

If a rhino horn is made of keratin, why 
don’t we just chew our fingernails?
It’s true a rhinoceros can grow another horn.  

Surely if it’s only a subspecies that’s gone
and not the actual species itself, it’s not really extinct?
As long as the poacher who cut the first one off
didn’t saw into the skull.


Copyright © Joanna Lilley.


Yukon writer Joanna Lilley is the author of the poetry collection, If There Were Roads (Turnstone Press), and the poetry collection, The Fleece Era (Brick Books), which was nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Joanna is also the author of the short story collection, The Birthday Books (Hagios Press). She has been published and given readings all across Canada as well as in the USA, England and Scotland, and has received four Advanced Artist Awards from the Government of Yukon to support her work. She has an MLitt degree in creative writing from the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde and is a Humber School for Writers graduate. Joanna is from the UK and now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she helped to found the Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink. Find Joanna on Twitter at @circumpolarjo.


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