“Escapees from the Zoo” by Joanne Lowery

Joanne Lowery


How did they climb over the natural barricades
of woven branches, thorned with rebuke?
The emu’s legs were not long enough.
Not even the giraffe could step over and out.
He was yellow and brown, like most of us,
though recently a white one was caught on film.
Is it good to be rare? Is that what makes
men in jeeps follow you with tranquilizers
and stun guns? How stunned you were,
the small you who wiggled under a fence
to find yourself free of regular feedings
and the generous hose, the crowds gathering
in admiration, the little metal sign
with two Latin words you left behind
for the chance to be nameless.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007


Joanne Lowery: “Although some of my poems are ‘true,’ most of them are transformations of Real Life. I like writing in historical voices or as imaginary characters, or from the viewpoint of animals. For me, there’s a kind of psychological safety (and intellectual fun) in turning language over to the imagination to become something other than plain old me.” (web)

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