we halved them because we could. it turned out anything with four
legs could wobble along on two, anything with two could hop along
on one. leopards. horses. kangaroos. front, back, it didn’t matter.
mostly it was teenagers with their parents’ christmas knives
who did the cutting. no one knew where the keepers came from,
but they favored covered wagons with billowing sheets tucked in at
the edges, puckering like a healing wound. they tied scarves tightly
around their chins — men and women — as if to hold the hemispheres
of their own heads together. at first they hid the hybrids from us.
their first, clumsiest attempts were the most marvelous — front os-
trich, back deer, wind ruffling through first feathers then fur. and
the catgoat, all front, who patrolled the shop windows. . . when the
sun hit at a certain angle, the battle would begin — cat wanting to see
its cat reflection, goat wanting to see goat.