Poetry Trauma


In one of its editorials, The National Geographic explains 
that pangolins are too naïve for this world and that it
makes them the most poached species ever. 

Their only self-defense mechanism being to curl up 
into a ball and hope for the best. 
But what they don’t know is their own armor

is what will have them killed in the end. 
Their scales are worth millions. 
I take a look at the funny-looking creature

and this little guy looks right back at me before 
slowly walking to the next page of the magazine, 
unaware of the gunmen who might be reading right now.

Just like him, my ancestors had to adapt to survive 
a world that didn’t want them, passed on their scales to me 
hoping I’d be the first generation to make it. 

And I hope they’re not 
watching right now thinking 
it wasn’t enough.

Jo Matsaeff is a neurodivergent queer teacher based in France. They can be found at their local open mic or virtually hanging out with their international poet friends wishing for a day when a magical tunnel will bring them all together. Their recent work appears in Gnashing Teeth, Anti-Heroin Chic, Horse Egg and The Adriatic.