Appetizers—for Jack Myers, 1988

by Mark Cox

What I’d pay to see, the man says,
is a bull elephant fighting a rhinoceros,
and reaching for the smothered nachos, adds,
now that would be something.
No, his wife (I guess), says,
A momma grizzly and a rhinoceros, ooh.
Yeah, (now their friends are warming up), only
they should be on a cliff to make it really good.
And throw in a pit bull, a bald guy offers,
herding them back to where this dinner small talk started,
and everyone squeals except the waitress, who,
taking orders for another round of drinks,
looks very pensive and explains
that grizzlies and rhinos are both wimps
and what about a great white and a killer whale?
A momma killer whale and a grizzly, wife says,
removing the umbrella from her drink with two fingers,
bears can swim, can’t they?
A tiger and ten wolves, the bald man says,
a knifeful of butter halfway to his bread,
but everyone howls that’s beyond civilized
decorum, seems cruel, unfair . . . .
A wolf and ten pitbulls?  He mutters
(bordering on sheepishly),
but everyone’s got their mouths full
and no one’s even looking at him.