Ridiculous, inverted, each leg strapped,
its grey bulk swings beneath the helicopter.
It’s out cold. The curved horn points groundwards
as it flies higher, an unwilling Icarus.
It’s lowered gently, infinitely gently,
into the wilderness that is its promised land.
That horn is drilled, quite painlessly, to take
the high-tech electronic tracking kit.
It wakes alone, unknowingly unwilded.
You raise a three-quarter-hearted cheer
to this mad plan to make amends
to something precious. This preposterousness.
Rhinoceros by Mark Toterdell received a Special Mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2019) judged by Mandy Pannett