The imagination, improvising, translated burly leather
into an overcoat of armor, converted brawn to iron.
For wrinkled folds, die-tooled metal plates
secured with welded struts. For mottled hide,
stamped medallions and, bellywise, rippling bursts
like sunspots Galileo’s glass would mark a century hence.
A submarine should be riveted so impeccably.
A Swiss vault should be this stoutly tamperproof.
Chimerical and mechanical, one foot in biology
and the other in technology, Europe’s debut rhino
poses on a patch of stylized turf, outsize toenails
planted squarely at the crosshatched intersection
of hearsay, surmise, awe, and steely virtuosity.
Making the most of slender evidence, the Master erred
on the side of industrial-strength intimidation:
spiked shanks, serrated hindquarters, vulcanized anatomy.