Tense and unforgiving behind the bars of their steel and Plexiglas playground, the cheetah and panther pace. They eyeball each other, and circle, keeping their distance as much as they can in that confine.
Outside this fauverie, the orangutan feeds and sits and rests his belly on the floor, his chest folds on his belly and his chin folds on his chest, while the lean young impala with spiraling antlers circles to mount a prospective mate, who flips her tail coyly as though she has no idea what he might want.
Beyond that set of bars is a long promenade, with chestnut trees blooming and plane trees, and lovers and mothers with babies in strollers. Guafres and sandwiches. Glaces and cafés, and boissons of all sorts among sparrows and jays.
Around all of this, yet another wall; its iron gates open to sidewalks and curbstones, to asphalt and autos— the wide world, the free world, the cruel world, the wind world. It’s my world. My own world. My prison. My life.