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Underfunded Zoo, by Spencer Mirabal

Every entangled stroke
of a wooden comb through the left side my beard
pulls to center stage
a lone white beard hair
my pride and joy
all zig zagged and mislead
a stray, wire-thin polar bear
now fully welcomed in my
weekly-rent studio apartment
full of anorexic animals
the considered / passed on limeade stand.

Most mornings, he hides behind
my hoarded collection of lethargic hopes
and I try to keep him alive
overfeeding him with
cups of cloves and vanilla extract
followed by a feast of cold grease
which he wants
no part of

so he joins the rest in
humoring my optimism that they’ll dazzle.
Patches of them play a
phony game of water polo
disregard starvation for another hour
while I pace in my office
comically discouraged
paranoid about being discovered

a charlatan zoo owner.

Oily fingers like deep fried waffle fries
twist and pick out the loudest
that cry mercy
the remaining animals
a congregation of empty stomachs

grumbling
grumbling
rupturing
grumbling

rupturing
groveling
groveling
groveling

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Photography by Austin Vaught  Design by Jordyn Raffety

Photography by Austin Vaught

Design by Jordyn Raffety