The peacock faces us in a splay of lust, prompting the unconscious holding of our hands, blinding our eyes with iridescent blue collapsing our lungs with breathlessness. Hand in hand we enter the penguin exhibit, and we see them standing erect, motionless, their backs to the glass, their heads tilted upward among outcroppings of fake gray rocks rising to a concrete wall of painted Antarctic vistas. We stand for several minutes and not a penguin moves, each brooking the bitter cold, keeping its back to viewing humans, living with every bit of possible dignity the dire little fictions of its life.
Larry D. Thomas, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate, has published twenty collections of poetry, most recently Uncle Ernest (Virtual Artists Collective, Chicago, 2013). His Larry D. Thomas: New and Selected Poems (TCU Press, 2008) was short-listed for the National Book Award. Visit his website at LarryDThomas.com.