Gus

I read about Gus.
A polar bear born in captivity,
never knowing a life outside 
his little box.
Adored by millions who
stared as he obsessively swam
in a figure eight.
Twelve hours a day.
They gave him Prozac.

I saw a movie about Tilikum.
An orca captured at two.
Put on a great show
and retired to a small tank.
Holding onto the memory of his freedom.
Of the open water.
He killed.
It surprised no one.

Article after article.
Half the zoo is medicated.
Depression
Anxiety
OCD.
None of these problems
in the wild.

Stared at.
Yelled at.
A flash from a camera.
A tap on the glass.
Always trapped.

No connection to the environment.
The one the ancestors
evolved in,
multiplied in,
thrived in.
Now walls, glass, fake rocks.
That is the universe.
Confined and helpless in a system 
they can’t understand,
and never asked for.
Who wouldn’t go crazy?

Medicated by those who want to help
yet refuse to see the real problem.
No creature was meant for this.
All the self harm,
violent outbursts,
obsessive behaviour.
It’s all they can do.
All they know.
No surprises there.

I take my pills.
Look in the mirror,
And laugh.

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