Gone Lawn
a webjournal of artistic and progressive literature
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Gone Lawn 18
Spring, 2015

New Works

John Wheaton

The Zoo, etc.


You were queen of the beasts, my love. Your refinement outshone the apes in their cages. Your polished grammar left them full of self-doubt.
The next day, biking on Mount Baldy, you bounced down the mountainside on your Schwinn (meanwhile, the birds watched you from their various cacti). Having left me on the mountaintop to ponder my new love, you raced downward in an arc of neon spandex.
I should tell you that I've been in love before. The stock market crash of 1987 left me positively bursting with valentines. "There are 206 bones in the human body," one of them read. Traces of lipstick lined the envelope.
And why, might I ask you, will you not just show yourself in your full force and regalia? You must see I'm wilting without you—the subtlety of my diction is faltering. "Take off your clothes. That will heal you," my roommate tells me, but I'm trying to maintain a presentable aspect. There is a persistent groaning of my soul that is akin to a dearth of apricots in California. If it is the spandex you're concerned about, you need not worry—I'm unequivocally pro-spandex.
There's a solution to this problem, but the arithmetic eludes me. My mind is like the only carrousel in the African savannah. The angular momentum of elephants is astounding. But I will stay on the carrousel because the animals remind me of you, pure in their circus theatrics. I go to the zoo to conjure you swimming in the hippo pool, now hanging in the dark with the sloth, now marinating in the sun with the mountain goats. If this is not true love, I don't know what is. The police removed me three times last Wednesday from the lion's den. You could end it all, you know, with a simple visit. That's not too much to ask, is it? Who could refuse a man with mammalian features? My love, I will be waiting for you with the red-spotted toads.


John Wheaton is an immigration attorney and writer in Seattle, Washington. When he's not writing, he can be found swimming the shores of Lake Washington or sitting down to a game of chess at a coffee shop. John is particularly interested in all types of experimental literature.