At Sanctuarul Urşilor

by Claire Booker

old friendships are respected:
Attila is cohabiting with a wolf.
Florentina waits for Boris by the
perimeter fence, happy to crop
grass under his blinded eye as he
eviscerates oranges (his favourite
fruit) or licks speciality ice cream
made of supermarket throw-outs.
Maria has been breaking hearts
since she arrived – wears her blunt
claws and honey fur apologetically,
treads the same small circle round
the clock. She used to ride a unicycle
in tight rings inside a larger ring.
One night in Bucuresti she sat
down bare-faced in the sawdust –
refused the crowd’s adulation.
Fellow artiste, Max, has turned
solo; rotates on his huge haunches
and paw-claps groups if he spots
them by the fence. He’s under his
own management now, perfecting
applause…