You know how time passes and you forget about stuff? Well, I sold a couple of poems three years ago to Spider magazine, and I was so excited to learn one of them is in the November issue!
Isn’t the art beautiful? I know the lighting is bad, but the jaguar is very cool. I love how the artist, John Sandford, really captured the rosettes. The editor and I had some conversations about the coloring and identification of the cat in the poem, and I had to dig up my notes–below–from when I originally wrote the poem (I wrote this one for Chatter, Sing, Roar, Buzz: Poems About the Rainforest, but it ended up being one of the extras).
And here’s the poem itself:
If you’re curious about the great jaguar/panther name debate, here are my notes:
Black Jaguar facts:
The term “black panther” may be applied to several types of great cat,
but in the Amazon it refers to jaguars. Not a separate species, but a
rare color variant, black jaguars are powerful hunters and play a
vital role within their ecosystem. Like all jaguars, these carnivores
are masters of ambush, and it is thought that their dark color
adaptation might aid these cats in their hunting. Unfortunately, like
all jaguars, this color variation of the species is just as
susceptible to threats like habitat loss.
"Most jaguars are tan or orange with distinctive black spots, dubbed
"rosettes" because they are shaped like roses. Some jaguars are so
dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on