I think of zebras in Zimbabwe,
see shimmering, stripy signatures
on rotund fairground horses
on Hwange’s endless plain.
You think of the same safari,
remember fiddling with focal lengths,
messing with your light meter
to produce the perfect photograph.
Mounted on black in your album
your memory of zebras in Zimbabwe –
frozen, lifeless images, not perfect
enough for a picture postcard.
I smile and remember the zebras
nuzzling and cuddling each other.
You look bemused and say
you hadn’t even noticed.
(Previously published in Envoi and previously shared on this blog in 2006 and 2018)
Edited to add: The zebra in the photo is a Grevy's zebra seen in Edinburgh Zoo (viewed from the top of Corstorphine Hill). Grevy's zebras can be recognised by their large ears and narrower stripes. You can read more about the zoo's zebras here. Grevy's zebra is the most threatened of the zebra species and the People's Trust for Endangered Species are fundraising to help restore grassland for Grevy's zebras in central Kenya. You can find out about this work and donate to the appeal here.