Here they come, all necks and legs,
galloping h's dressed in puzzle-piece suits
moving in a graceful stride
like no other creature on the planet.
We think ourselves lucky to watch
them play, to spend a day diving
with puffins, bounding with lemurs,
trading yawns with lions.
Across the world, we hear the warnings:
ice sheets islanding, every tree bowing
to the chainsaw, oceans of fish vanishing,
skies erased of wing-song. And yet,
our jungle cousins still have faith
we can save them. You see it in their eyes.
Like this morning at the zoo,
before the crowds arrive, you spy a young chimp
chewing his breakfast of lettuce leaves.
He looks up like a child, unblinking.
Faces inches apart, you match palms at the plexiglass,
a prayer between primates,
a silence sealed with a promise
you hope to keep.
dedicated to the North Carolina Zoological Park