The black jaguar, which was nobody’s favorite animal but the oldest one at the zoo, has died. It was a vague reminder of the darkness that will one day consume us all as it paced back and forth and back and forth and back and forth behind the iron fence. Nobody really liked watching it, but it was a kind of obligation toward our younger, more vulnerable selves. Not everything can be monkeys dangling from ropes and throwing feces. Not everything can be a big black bear scratching itself against a rock. Sometimes you have to take in a breath and hold it as long as you can. Sometimes you have to weep openly at the terror of unyielding credit card applications in the mail. There is no part of your body that you love.
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