local_library There Must Be Something Dangerous About A Zoo

by Sam Hamod

Published in Issue No. 115 ~ December, 2006

“Welcome To Our Zoo”

Just yesterday, the tank

came forward, into the zoo,

firing round

after round, the Cockatoos

screeched, the Macaws went

wild in their cages, screen wire

smithering into thousands of

shreds of death, piercing

the 2 am night air

sending the Raccoon

into panic as his leg

sliced open, and the

Monkey’s arm went limp

with the crunch of his tree,

hundreds of Parrots were

caught in a large net

and whisked away in the cab

of a bulldozer, while another

tank shell shattered the

night air, caving in the

roof of the keeper’s workshed,

where Mohammad Juma had

worked for months

creating a zoo

for the children of Rafah, the

only recreation

in this nightmare,

of destruction,

where children weren’t allowed

to go out

fearing snipers,

old lady Khamis

wanted to stay in her house,

bulldozer grinding toward her,

finally her daughter dragged

he, screaming from the

falling wall that covered them both with

cuts and dust, shattering

memories, creating new


“The fox has run off,” Jumah says,

but no one has any idea where — probably

dug in behind an old shell hole, shivering

from the shaking ground

as the tank grinds up the last of the

bird enclosures — the bulldozer grabs

and garbs and garbs, pushing

the entire scraps

of the defunct zoo

into the swimming pool

the Macaws cry out

mournfully, covering the

wailing women,

sobbing of the children, the

rage and frustration of Juma

as he picks up what is left

of the sign that says,

“Welcome to Rafah,

Welcome to the Zoo”

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Sam Hamod has published 10 books of poems and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He has taught at the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, Princeton, Michigan, and Howard, and his most recent book is Just Love Poems For You (Ishmael Reed Pub./Contemporary Poetry Press), 2006.