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  • Charismatic Megafauna
  • Tiana Nobile (bio)

Charismatic megafauna are large animal species that have widespreadpopular appeal; they are the animals that most people can recognize andmay even know a few facts about off the top of their heads.

—Stephanie N. Braccini, Vice President of Living Collections, Birmingham Zoo [End Page 146]

Do you, too, wincewhen they whisperexotic in hushed breath,fingers pointedin your direction,your inanimate bodypoised to pummelbehind the smudged glass?Has anyone ever asked youhow it feels to be slitand stuffed from the crownof head to the tip of tail,what was once majesticnow hanging from the walllike an ornamentadorning the molding?What a parody, these people,in their tiger-striped t-shirtsand leopard-spotted lingerie,how they burlesque your gloryinto patterns and plush. How theyslash your tusks for piano keysand other trifles before tattooingyour effigy on their biceps.I, too, know the taste of this flavorof humiliation. Fingers pointedin my direction,cameras poised and clicked.Imagine: a group of men,their fingers swiping,the blur of my face slitheringacross the screen.Your skin, my skin, two notcheson power's endless bedpost.Exotic, they say,while slicing off our ears.While scooping out our eyes. [End Page 147]

Tiana Nobile

tiana nobile is a Korean American adoptee, Kundiman fellow, and recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. A finalist for the National Poetry Series and Kundiman Poetry Prize, her writing has appeared in Poetry Northwest, the New Republic, Guernica, and the Texas Review, among others. Her full-length poetry debut, Cleave, is forthcoming in spring 2021 from Hub City Press. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. For more, visit



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