A journal of narrative writing.
Bunk With the Beasts
It was a truly stupid 
idea: bedding down
on the lecture hall floor
with 30 5th-graders revved up
on sugar. Before "sleeping,"
we toured the zoo by night.
A chance to see the animals
off-guard, they said. But it was dark
and the animals asleep. Except 
for the pacing mountain lions
and the African red deer, who came
to the fence, stalking me. 
They never do that! the guide
said. And the seals. One of them
was eating a duck. They never
do that either, though the zebras
are prone to attacking the keepers.
By daylight, we toured again:
two gorillas catatonic;
a hippo too depressed 
to wallow; a  bear beating its head
against a wall. So you're saying 
all these animals are psychotic, 
one father remarked, triggering 
a lecture on the role of zoos
in saving endangered species. 
And I thought of the boy
in the bubble. What is salvation?
Only the monkeys were happy,
chattering in their communal cage.
An eagle tried to fly, crumpled
against chain link.