Figure 9: Animal Suits Worn by Individual Performers

by Gerry LaFemina

They’re better than mimes, surely, but then again, so’s a troupe of dentists, drills at the ready, masked, bearing metal picks and scrapers. These too are wearing masks and holding their long tails so as not to step on them, then trip.

And what are we to make of it, this men-and-women menagerie? The tiger man paces downtown, the gorilla guy drinks tea in the coffee shop, the married couple sharing the horse suit canter and prance before the library’s glass doors. Even the littlest kids think this strange, so that some shiver and cry while others giggle…haltingly, at the family dressed as lemurs.

To think, all this time you could have watched from your third floor window, you who’d been rutting earlier, panting and grunting, pulling at the mane of your woman; you who finger the scratches left on your chest, then scratch yourself; you who stand naked on two legs and walk, not like a god, to the bathroom, unaware of the people out on the street, staring upward, pointing, their free hands full of feed.

Gerry LaFemina is the author of nine books of poems, prose poems, and fiction; his latest book is Vanishing Horizon (Anhinga Press). He directs the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University, where he is an Associate Professor of English. He divides his time between Maryland and New York.