Windy City Mascot

Chance the Snapper swims the lagoon
of Chicago’s Humboldt Park. Three
or four million in town, but no one
can figure how to get him out of there.
I would do it, but the drive is prohibitive.
Somewhere in the city the gator’s former owner
watches the news coverage. We can’t know
if he has another reptile at home,
squeezed into a brownstone’s bathtub.
We definitely can’t find out
what the hell the guy was thinking.
I could say he or she, but you know
it’s always the dudes who do this.
A dude who may have migrated
from the distant Everglades,
and was lonesome for reminders of home,
nostalgic for gator crosswalks on town streets,
for those golf course biting hazards.
If you take a Chance from the pond,
what’s the next collective delight
for the Windy City citizenry?
The best local pest contractors
struggle with a job that any JimBob
from the Sunshine State could ace.
The newscasters call it chance,
but the unexpected is statistically certain
to happen eventually, like snow in July.

Todd Mercer writes from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018. Recent work appears in The Lake, Leaves of Ink, Mojave River Review and Praxis Magazine.

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