“Caution Exotic Animals”

“its neck a strung bow bending out the rusted gate” Photo credit: Randy Hanna

Imagine this, not gunshots, not the ending,
but the giraffe’s blue-gray blade of tongue
nipping Ohio air, its neck a strung bow bending
out the rusted gate, that damp lung
of hillside exhaling fur and scat and rain
while the sulky tigers paw a muscular ballet
along the glistening stripe of motorway,
the jabbering monkey thumbs a soda can,
and the black bear trundles nowhere in particular,
eyes catching in the headlights of a car.
Imagine the first stunned moment of opened cage,
that ripple of sudden animal-joy, like rage,
not the moment quiet death appeared,
not the lion, asleep on his wet beard.

Poignant stuff by Joanna Pearson, via Boxcar Poetry Review.
Inspired, of course, by this sad tale.

…Forty-eight of the 56 animals were then shot dead on the sheriff’s orders. Police believe they have now accounted for all 56 animals except one monkey. The animals’ owner, Terry Thompson, was found dead at the zoo.

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