From the Archive: Chad Campbell (CAROUSEL 36)

Staff/ December 7, 2020/ Poem


At the Surabaya Zoo

The last eyes retreat. A shiftwork
of waiting for food until morning starts,

when she’s led from the brick
hutch to the pens. Nearby, a bear

stares brokenly at some apples.
She stretches out again. Day opens.

White tigers are especially rare. Look
how white she is, how fine her tail, how

black the stripes that leap
brail for violent majestic force —

the titillation of a hungry shadow
loping for you through a field of snow.

Her wings are striking; what becomes
of corded haunches when the fat burns

out of them like a starved queen gobbling
the leather off her throne. So thin

you could make a wish, run around the yard
flopping those two gaunt things.

At least that violence’s quick. Better than
this saint of neglect who sits beside her

with his reverse eyes weeping. Send a deer
nibbling by, open the doors

but they make a sound she can’t hear.
Someone’s taken or amputated her ears.

Chad Campbell’s debut collection of poetry, Laws & Locks (Véhicule Press, 2015) was short-listed for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. His work has appeared in The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Arc and Brick, among other journals, and was anthologized in Best Canadian Poetry 2015 and The New Wave: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a former teacher at the University of Iowa, he is now a Phd Student at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and is working on his second collection of poetry, The Fifth Season. More: here

At the Surabaya Zoo
appeared in CAROUSEL 36 (2016) — buy it here

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