animal zoo field trip

i gathered our cages 
like reptile hearts. red pandas
eating their faces in their
slivers of dark. i hold hands
with a heron. stare out through
his eyes as he counts human fingers.
i want to feed the giraffe 
by which i mean it is time 
for me to break a mirror. tongues
of gods. distances measured 
between fence & foreground.
fevers in the lions den. single file 
species. here is a fact about hippos:
they all want to play string instruments.
once i knew the limits of my body 
i surrounded myself with that craving.
frogs with the eyes of stolen planets.
a comet cranes her neck to see
the systems we built to know each other.
shaking hands with a king cobra.
he whispers, "you know there is
an exit sign above?" me, nodding.
we must help each other but "help"
becomes a parachute off a volcano.
rocks are just latent rushing.
piles of legs & feet. a femur
crowns the old day. school buses 
bore holes in the illusion with 
their headlights. i could have been
an otter. could have turned over
every keeping. instead i build 
a field trip deeper into my glass.
press a hand to the outlines
of chimpanzees. an orangotan
cradles me. i grow orange fur
& hunger for a ripe fruit yet to exist.
the zoo widens until there are cages
within cages within cages. 
the snakes visit the stick bugs 
& the penguins observe the bears.
what does it mean to go beyond gazing.
i memorized the way you put on your face
one eye at a time. then, you were gone.

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