“Endangered” by Akua Lezli Hope

Akua Lezli Hope


for Harambe

if it were my thing
my stupid lump of boy flesh
rushing heedless, endangered
to thrill             to explore
what was not his
never his       always his for the taking
my someday scion
my heir apparent
my never reproached
rarely admonished
my beamish boy unattended
my twinkling toddler
my future maker of grandchildren
poison apple of my sty eye
my pride and joy
my fine young man
my gutter cleaner, yard mower, dog walker
my consumer of mass quantities
my someday quarterback, my bedwetter
rug rat, crumbsnatcher, piglet,
my big diaper guy, my little monkey

if                 if if
I would’ve shot that gorilla, too
while I wailed and boohooed
and didn’t look, couldn’t look, wouldn’t watch
his possible demise
but it wasn’t my idiot
tumbling where he didn’t belong
trespassing on another ‘s territory
not mine lacking the sense he should have been born with
not mine slung like a sack through the green moat
not mine baptized to the possibilities of fate
ensnaring the innocent silverback,
born protector of his dwindling few
in the continuing death dance
of human caprice

Poets Respond
June 5, 2016


Akua Lezli Hope: “A three-and-a-half-year-old boy entered a Cincinnati Zoo gorilla’s enclosure last Saturday—spurring zoo officials to shoot and kill the gorilla. The boy was dragged across a moat by the 450-pound gorilla. After ten minutes, Cincinnati Zoo officials shot and killed the beloved and endangered silverback, named Harambe. The boy was not seriously injured. We could end up without gorillas in this world. We should work to have wild life in wild lands. But people put the gorilla in the zoo, people have decimated gorilla populations and people killed this gorilla.” (web)

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