Hippo Child

They came down to our wallowing place
cradling a basket made of rushes,
took out one of their tiny calves
with a crooked back and withered leg
and jabbering solemnly, they laid
the creature gently in the current.
It did not smell like us. At first
it wailed and beat the water’s skin,
then sinking down towards the mud
it gurgled as it drank the river’s milk.

Photos in Newsweek Plague Bird