[39] Untitled, Batnadiv HaKarmi

“Looks like the lemurs ate the tigers,”
the man beside me whispers
to his son. Eyes glinting
behind his mask, the lemur
presses his palms to the glass.
Dried wheat blanches
the Sumerian Tiger
exhibit beige. Enough
ears for a mola salsa—
sacred cake of first wheat
baked by the Vestals to comfort
the Earth. Concrete
in place of water, striped
tails bounce the branches—lemurs,
lemurs, more lemurs
fill the air with ghostly screams.
The exit is blocked.
Both tigers died during this long year
of pandemic, when the zoo was locked,
locked, locked again. Lemurs,
named for the Latin lemures—
unwholesome specters
of restless dead. They
should have been exorcised
during the Lemuralia’s uneven
days of May. Repeat
nine times, “Ghosts
of my fathers be gone!”
They howl on.

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