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Every day,
they peered down at him
from behind the wall and wire.

Every day,
They looked and pointed and stared.

It was routine.

Until it happened that he was looking down at one of them.
A boy
crouching between his dark pillar arms.

The others were shouting,
fear in their eyes.
They screamed and waved.

What must he do? Should he play? Or protect? What? He pulled the boy. He waited. He looked.

It was strange to have company.
He had been lonely in life, so far.
He had no real kin.
Most days, he yearned for somewhere he did not know.

Most days were routine.

And then there was this boy,
looking up at him.

And then there was blackness.


This piece is dedicated to Harambe, the endangered Western lowland gorilla who was shot and killed by zookeepers when a young child fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati zoo.