Table Sixteen: Joseph Suglia

You see a giraffe, a great giraffe before you. There she is: a great giraffe with a sinuous back. A great giraffe with a creamily flowing coat. With reticulate patterns on her creamy coat, wobbly brown boxes.

(Reticulate = divided in such a way to resemble a net or a network.)

Her ladder-like neck is now at a seventy-five degree angle to the rest of her body. She inclines her head to the green leaves and vacuums up the green leaves, sucking them into her tubulous cream-colored mouth, putting green leaves into the tube of her working mouth. Her mouth is mobile, working at the leaves—the rest of her does not move. Now her tongue comes out of her mouth. Her floppy ears twitching, she licks her own nostrils. She is serenely licking her own vertically-shaped nostrils.

You study her protruding purplish-grey tongue. The back of her tongue is blackish-purple. Her tongue: It is dry and yet moist at the same time. You don’t understand it.

You look into the yearning, languorous eyes of the giraffe.

The placidity of this giraffe! Her hide is creamy yet leathery, as if it were a sheet of rippling leather tightly strapped over her strapping flesh. Her skin furrows around her strong haunches. Her tufty tail is like the cascading brown hair of a woman unfastened.

You focus your attention still more on the giraffe. You approach the giraffe with silent feet. The giraffe—it is majestic. Your hands—almost involuntarily—are palpating the hide of the giraffe. You feel the giraffe’s warm core beneath its slick and sleek hide. You palm the giraffe’s slick and sleek hide as the animal chomps on the leaves of a bamboo tree, its black eyes glinting unknowingly-knowingly.

You are at the intersection of Grand and Clark, and there is a giraffe that is serenely, indifferently chomping on the leaves that dangle from the red awning of Portillo’s Hot Dogs. The poltophagic giraffe is chewing like the cow that it is.

(Poltophagic = chewing food slowly until it becomes like porridge.)

The artificial palm fronds are whipping and lashing in the wind. The artificial palm fronds that decorate the exterior of Portillo’s Hot Dogs are whipping and lashing in the wind.

Stretching out its neck, the giraffe gazes at you searchingly. The giraffe turns its head away, as if smarting from wounded vanity. The sun is searing.

She looks at you as if stung.

Through the window of Portillo’s, you see an old woman. She unfolds a newspaper and spreads it out on the table as if it were a map of the city.

The giraffe is laughing. The giraffe is laughing at the old woman, and the giraffe is laughing at you. As she laughs, her mouth moves as if she wanted to eat you.

The giraffe, with its reticulate hide, protrudes its purple-grey-black tongue and licks the canopy of leaves above your head.

The reticulate giraffe, ruminant, is grazing the leafy canopy, shoveling tufts of leaves into its working mouth, licking the leaves with its extendable purple-grey-black tongue.

Running off jauntily and bouncily, a young woman is sprinting after another giraffe, a running giraffe, a giraffe running south down Clark Street.

Bending its neck, your giraffe—gentle colossus—bends to lick the forehead of a young boy who is stuffing a vanilla ice cream cone into his mouth.

You sight twin giraffes mouthing leaves from the balcony gardens of the shelved apartment building on top of Maggiano’s.

You see humans sitting on benches and beneath the covered bus stops. Typing cryptograms into their laptops, the humans screen out the animal world.

Within the antique store is a plantain tree.

Looking at the tree in the antique store, a giraffe nuzzles the window.

The giraffe smashes the window with its crowbar head.

An aging black giraffe gallops elegantly across the street and then slows to a trot. It stalls in the courtyard of a constellation of apartment buildings.

Giraffes are running as if a lion were at their heels, their splayed legs like crazy stilts.

You see two giraffes kissing each other. Osculating animals, licking animals. Animals that kiss with their tongues and teeth.

In the distance, you see the shadowy forms of two battling giraffes, locked neck-to-neck, in a death-match clutch.

Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia

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