From the Archive: Chad Campbell (CAROUSEL 36)
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.