Coastal Nevada Zoo and Animal Studies Program

Here at the Coastal Nevada Zoo,
the goal of our program is the yield
of animals viable under the new conditions.
It’s a work in progress.
As you see in the Africa Pavilion,
we have sustainable herds of gray zebras
and short-necked giraffes. A few mini-elephants
lived past infancy, but we lost them.
We had one vegetarian lion;
it wasn’t my idea to place him
in the former petting zoo.
Next morning we had bones and sated sheep.

The aquarium may be phased out for lack of funds.
Our placid sharks would stop swimming and drown;
the reef our corals built is handsome
but microscopic. We’ve kept a few
of the long-legged penguins that won’t go near the water
and one blue whale that’s bigger than a breadbox.
The North American Pavilion is closed:
The leprosy-resistant armadillos
died of flu, the bears refuse to move.
The Rabbit House is a big draw —
people love to watch them fight. This way, please,
and don’t forget your masks and umbrellas.
Too many pigeons here, shoving and stretching
for spilled kibble, water, we can’t get rid of them.
I’ve tried. That burbling noise they make,
their imbecile round red eyes, the droppings,
the fleas, and they’re fat but always hungry,
same as they ever were.

Sarah Lindsay is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the author of Primate Behavior, Mount Clutter, and Twigs and Knucklebones. She is a copy editor in Greensboro, North Carolina.