Flamingos in Lake Nakuru
By Stan Galloway

I had expected something . . . well . . .
pinker – you know, plastic-flamingo pink,
but in the hundreds of living, moving tufts
that mark this mobile community,
none approaches
that conditioned, bargain-basement, shocking pink
that Americans know so well.

I’m told the pinkness varies based on diet,
and right now the pink-producing nutrients are scant.
Mixed in among the nearly white,
a few show pinker edges, ones who manage
still to find enough to make them stand out
pinker than the rest and draw the tourists’ click.

What if our diets colored us?
The green among us salad-lovers –
the orange, carrot connoisseurs.
Or what if color showed our reading habits?
Purple people passionate about their romances –
gray, the sturdy readers of how-to’s –
and what color would the Bible readers be?
Would people tank up Saturday nights
to get their color back
before Sunday morning church?

Perhaps flamingoes are not the only creature
that comes in real and plastic.

Stan Galloway teaches writing and literature at Bridgewater College in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He was nominated Best of the Net in 2011. His chapbook Abraham is forthcoming from Sierra Delta Press in 2012. He has had more than 50 poems appear online and in print. He has also written a book of literary criticism, The Teenage Tarzan.

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