augury doggerel

Sunday, April 18, 2004


All afternoon I'm alone at the zoo.

I lean on the railing and the seals lie on the concrete. People stop and say "Seals!" and wait. After balls are not balanced and horns are not honked, they walk down to the monkeys. More people come and say "Seals!" and wait a minute and walk down to the monkeys. After I memorize the four seals, I straighten up and leave for the wolves with the long legs and pungent smell. Someone behind me says, "He's moving!"

I convince myself a hippopotamus is watching me. I blink. It blinks. I blink. It blinks. I don't blink for as long as I can stare into hippopotamus eyes without my eyes falling out of their sockets and the hippopotamus looks back. Then I blink. It blinks. I blink. It blinks. Before I start talking to the hippopotamus, who is pinkish and possibly fine to rest my head on and listen to gurgle, I read a sign with a hippo silhouette that says "Very Dangerous Animal!" and a sign with a human skull that says "Danger! High Voltage!" and a sign with a fork that says "Snack Bar."

I have coffee in a styrofoam cup and watch storks circle. Big sausages smoke on a grill. People drink beer and tear into chicken and fish with plastic forks and knives. Ten meters downwind, leopards growl.


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