Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

At the Zoo

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

At the Zoo

Article excerpt

among the Chilean flamingos, there was always one lone swan.

What were its days? What was it like to be dressed in white

when all the rest were decked out in creamy coral? Laughing at the antics

of the thick-kneed squawkers, their skirmishes and scuffles, but then

the solitary like the Earth only whiter, only winged, and whether

it had a mother and a father, and if so where, and did the tapirs

have parents? They don't have mothers anymore, I could've said.

Or their mother is at the store, buying krill and grasshoppers,

said in a high-pitched voice I can't remember when I invented

to laugh off helplessness, morbidity, dread, for when the children's

moon doesn't shine down on a mother and child, on a stroller,

here down the path past the pink stuffed birds I keep my daughter

from wanting by explaining whoever made them was color blind,

here with Ginger and Lucy, sister hippos sprawled on the stubby grass

like slabs of slick brown rock. …

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