Quin: Gibbons

bathed in sun
unsually warm
for San Francisco,
cast lacey shadows
on the dusty footpaths
wandering through the zoo.

You might have thought
it was Los Angeles
it was so warm
and dusty.

Iron bars,
two stories up,
thirty feet by fifty,
shaped a cage that cast
harsh parallel shadow-bars
over the dozen-or-so gibbons
lounging there post-prandially.

You might have thought
they were sleeping
but they were
watching us.

Quin and I
had learned
to play this game
on earlier gibbon visits.

Making “ooo - wooop!” shrieks
like alarm signals on a ship
pitching each set higher
peaking, then oooo...
descending, slow
oooo..., oooo...
Sex calls!

the sequence
drove the gibbons
to a frenzy of requital.

Swinging wildly round their cage
returning ooo-woops and ooos
they drew quite a crowd
from the footpaths ——
humans unaware
of Quin and me
and the game.

At apogee
we’d knock off
ventriloquizing and the
gibbons would calm themselves.

The humans seemed bewildered
harumphed at one another
then started off to see
other jungle critters
caged elsewhere.
Giggle.  Again?