Zebras Anything


From the Archive

From a 1938 WPA poster for the Brookfield Zoo.

James Tate’s poem “Zebras Anything” appeared in our Fall 1975 issue

I wish somebody would give me
a couple of live panda bears.
After all these years I deserve them.
Yesterday I nearly went insane

searching for a toucan:
“No toucans!” everywhere I went.
One son-of-a-bitch even went so far
as to say: “Toucans are filthy,

disgusting birds, terrible pets;
and on the endangered list besides.”
And I said, then I’ll take the last one,
I’ll be responsible; my pets

don’t have to bow and scrape to me.
We are equals, this I believe,
so give me the pandas.