June 8, 2011

Laura Garrison

Memories of a High School Mascot

I was the Gainsfield Gorilla.
My long arms and bad posture
may have been all wrong
for the cheerleading squad,
but they were perfect
for the hirsute ape suit.

Through the black mesh
of the gorilla's mouth,
I watched you kick
the field goal that won
the Homecoming game.

Of course, you didn't know
that I beat my chest
only for you.

You probably thought
I was a boy; most
people did, like that guy
with the caterpillar
mustache who laughed
when his kid punched me
in the stomach.

I used to fantasize about
my zipper getting stuck.
You would rush in
when I called for help
and pull me, gasping,
from the thick foam and fur,
and we would spend the night
in the locker room sauna,
peeling bananas and checking
each other for bugs.


Laura Garrison grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and currently lives in Maryland with her husband.  She is the type of person who leaves her Christmas lights up all year.

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