The Last Exotic Petting Zoo
In the dripping cold of an Oregon January,
miasma of wet dog clung to us like a
discarded lover. You, sick
with a cough and a heavy head tucked
in the pages of a book. I drove
like hell down the coastal
back roads. No one holds tigers
and lions in the winter
The wanton mud swallowed our shoes,
sucked our feet in searching gulps
while the animals watched.
You held her,
Bristled paws like a kiwano,
as I cradled the bottle of milk
into her frantic mouth knowing you’ll never
think me as magnificent as you
do right now.
I gifted you a tiger cub, her claws etching
delicate scars into your forearms,
while the rain scoured us to the bone.
Copyright © 2012 by Jessica Tyner
A zoo poem that humanizes the animal world but does not demean our own humanity.