Tag Archives: animals

The Zoo

Inside the fence, they sit together and stare;
they commune in the dirt with nary a care
but the hair on their heads and the plants on the ground,
which they pull up, examine and toss around.
With camaraderie palpable, there’s cheer in the air,
the chatter of simians indulged in a shared
experience together, eternally bound
in the world of their primate playground —
observes the humble zoologist.

Outside the fence, they gape and they glare
at the animals inside, neglecting to compare
their own primitive selves to the beings aground
while convincing themselves they do not confound
the language of one mind to the language of theirs —
observes the humble anthropologist.

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Equus Quagga Quagga

Equus Quagga Quagga: a poem for a southern African zebra,
mother to the zebrinny or father to the zebrule,
cousin to the wild bangtails and kiangs that roam the worldly plains,
freer than the riding palfrey and the dappled percheron,
and certainly not a lowly dobbin jade.

Its ancestry says keffel, though nothing at all like a caple;
perhaps it spent its days running with the kleenebok
or kobbing with kudu. After all, southern Africa teemed
with lechwe, running red with rooirhebok from dawn
to the scarlet puku-filled dusk. The quagga might have
seen suni and topi, nodded at their four-hooved Damaliscus friends,
and galloped on its way with the Hippotrigris herd.

Perhaps it would have danced around zonures and run under
trees bearing the noble grivet and bearded guenon,
under skies swarming with queleas and tufted turacos.
Always past tense, in the sub-Saharan world, for Equus Quagga Quagga
vanished from existence one hundred fifty years ago,
leaving only onomatopoeic taxonomy — and striped taxidermy.

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