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The Great Ape House

Chicago's Lincoln Park, "Second to None"


Languid as passengers on a liner at sea

the gorillas live here in endless ease.

Weighed, inoculated, unscathed and

more beautiful than wild animals

they toll heavy headed.


No need to forage now. Safe

from slash and burn farmers,

they wait. Daily

at 10 and 2 there is a tropical rainstorm

complete with thunder and lightning.

Otto, the shy silver-backed giant,

genitals modestly hidden,

"has the strength of ten men,

the intelligence of a four-year old."

Like the very rich stirring in deck chairs

to a chimed call for first seating,

the melancholy, black-leather faces turn,

red-eyed and pensive,

waiting.