My father’s parents, who lived with us throughout my childhood, fled Russia in 1905 to escape poverty and the state-sponsored massacres of Jews, called pogroms. They told me about the elation they’d felt when, after an arduous three-week ocean journey, they’d glimpsed the majestic statue in New York Harbor for the first time.
Awakening From The Nightmare Of Zoos
The bear takes seven steps, her claws clicking on concrete. She dips her head, turns, and walks toward the front of the cage. Another dip, another turn, another three steps. When she gets back to where she started, she begins all over. This is what’s left of her life.
In the afternoon I once again brought Bird outside. This time he followed me partway along the path; by now he had begun to associate me with food and wanted to keep me in sight. Annie, inside and awake now, rushed from window to window as Bird and I walked slowly along the path. She was astounded; I was taking something edible for a walk.
Sheba is just the right height for a toddler to pat her on the head with a fist, or walk under the archway of those enormous legs. Eventually the girl will haul herself onto Sheba’s back and squeal, “Giddyap!” and the dog will comply, moving slowly, swaying like a camel.
When my sister Fawn told me she’d decided to adopt a little girl, I was skeptical. The girl’s name was Sam, and she lived in a group home run by — according to Fawn — gang members, illiterates, and pervs. Fawn had a master’s in social work and had been working with lost youth for years.
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, / I stand and look at them long and long. . . . / They do not sweat and whine about their condition, / They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, / They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, / Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,