• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 08


I’ve heard the zoos will reopen soon
and they say they do good work these days,
‘captivity aids conservation’, and zoos need our money.

I remember a rainy afternoon spent wandering the zoo in Lille
a ragged panther pacing ever-tightening loops
in the tiny circlet of her enclosure

and my throat clutched as she keened for all the lost wild places.

I’ve heard the pet shops reopen soon. I cannot walk past the store
in the local market without flinching at the stale fug of
bedraggled feathers, those despondent finches

row after row, tiny bodies stilled on perches in barred boxes,
voices hushed and flight subdued. I have seen their sisters
pluck at the strings of guitars with their sharp red beaks

then slip inside our pockets. I wasn’t sure if they were
playing with us, or asking to be smuggled out
to bigger skies—

a brief escape, before the magpies caught them.