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Giraffe

Way up in the trees, buried in bunches of leaves or dipping down low to peeling curls of bark in winter is where you’ll find it, if you’re looking.  I heard that the bark’s no good for them, but I don’t know a thing about the bark. 

 

Climb up starting at the hoofs digging holes is the sparse blades of grass, right down to the dirt.  Crawl over bulbous knocking knees, dodging spots like sun burnt patches, hot to the touch like when the fan broke and we sweat through our clothes in humid August air.  Shimmy slow and labored up the neck that reaches for miles to the two little nubs, two little aspiring horns, and hang on the same way you would on a bike, but without the leather jacket or gloves with no fingers. 

 

Between the lips, behind the teeth is a tongue purple and black, emblazoned by the thick sun way up in those tree leaves.  Dunked in a bucket of stain that makes your black jeans black again.  Painted shiny black like the bumper of your car when you scraped the mailbox last week.  Or a little more purple like grapes before they’re washed, plucked right off the vine in my friend’s dad’s field.  A deep purple color like the shadows yawning across the horizon when the sun should have set long ago, but it’s hiding down there, making the blue-black sky glow and letting the stars poke through the clouds, but slowly.    

 

I didn’t know giraffes had black tongues until I went to the zoo last year.  You said they were purple and I couldn’t tell, so I believed you.

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