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Sunday, Tarzan in His Hammock

When the king of the jungle first wakes up, he thinks

it's going to be a great day, as laden with possibility

as the banana tree with banana hands, but by ten

he's still in the hammock, arms and legs dull as

termite mounds.  He stares at the thatched roof and realizes

that his early good mood was a leftover from Saturday,

when he got so much done: a great day, he saved

the tiger cub trapped in the banyan, herded the hippos

away from the tourists and their cameras and guns,

restrung and greased the N-NW vines, and all by noon.

All day he went about his duties, not so much kingly duties

as custodial, and last night, he and Cheetah went for a walk

under the ostrich-egg moon. This morning nothing stirs him.

The world is a stagnant river, a scummy creek's dammed pool.

Cheetah's gone chattering off, Jane is in town,

and the rest of the animals are busy with one another -

fighting, eating, mating.  Tarzan can barely move,

he does not want to move.  Does the gazelle ever feel this

lassitude, does it ever want to lie down and just stare,

no longer caring for its own safety, tired of the vigilance?

Does the lion, fat in the grass, ever think, fuck it,

let the wounded springbok live, who cares?

Tarzan thinks maybe he'll go to the bathing pools

and watch the village girls bathe, splashing in the sun,

their breasts and thighs perfect.  He wishes someone

would bring him a gourd of palm-wine, a platter

of imported fruits - kiwi, jack fruit, star fruit -

or maybe a bowl of roasted yams slathered in goat butter,

maybe Jane will bring him a book.  Nothing will be delivered.

He hears far off in the dense canopy a zebra's cry for help,

those damned jackals again, but, no, he will not move.

Let the world take care of itself, let the world eat

the world.  He can live without the call of the wild.

He thinks.