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Melanie Jordan

In the Broken Zoo

They kept us and now they've left us.
My marble eye rides blackwater;
prey I can become. Banging on the far wall.
Soon the umbrage of pit and scale, the fur,
the thumbs. The tarsiers founder on snakes
now, but until spring on air I could survive.
I ride this stale water, I am the heir of abiding:
they shook the earth, my oldest ancestors,
they rumble my cold blood still, though
egg-sucking rats and the endless winter
laid them down like logs to die.
So long as the pool was deep enough,
so long as the need was slender,
we got along. So long as
the glass was strong.


Melanie Jordan was raised in Middle Tennessee and currently lives and teaches in Houston, Texas. She received her MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and her PhD from the University of Houston. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Iowa Review, Third Coast, Poetry Southeast, Southeast Review, DIAGRAM, Crab Orchard Review, and others. She was recently an editor for Lyric Poetry Review and hopes to do more editing in the future. "In the Broken Zoo" originally appeared in DIAGRAM.