The Jungle waits Outside, my Best-Beloved
Another zoo, another information board, another wild encounter talk. I'm old and neurotypical. The facts and stats glide through my head and out the other side. You, on the other hand, remember everything. Your nine-year-old, extraordinary mind could itemise, if asked, the eighty-five names humankind has given to the puma. At the end of our day out you asked what animal I loved most in Exmoor Zoo and I said, Guess. You thought perhaps the binturong (which smells, you said, like popcorn) or, judging by my oohs and aahs, maybe the superb starling, the scarlet ibis, or the gloriously grumpy tawny frogmouth. When I said, No, you are my favourite animal, I knew I'd disappointed you. The look that flashed across your face told me I'd made a category mistake. But later you said, Thanks Grannie. Today has been the best.
And yes it was. We were so safe among the cages.
This poem was first published in in The Deal, Happenstance Press 2020. Annie Fisher’s background is in primary education, initially as a teacher and later as an English adviser. Now semi-retired she writes poetry for both adults and children and sometimes works as a storyteller in schools. She has had two pamphlets published with HappenStance Press: Infinite in all Perfections (2016) and The Deal (2020). She is a member of Fire River Poets, Taunton. You can find them here: www.fireriverpoets.org.uk.