The Monkey and the Cow in the Jungle


[The Negro Attacked by a Jaguar, Henri Rousseau, 1910]

The Monkey and the Cow in the Jungle

His words are tamping footsteps

sounded over rattling rain.

Rhythm washes strokes on soft ground printing

meaning in his jungled path.

Her bovine eyes hang lidded, wide,

her milky breathing like a swollen ocean,

His monkey hands throw symbols up

around his creatured face

as lows in sliding tones roll out of her.

His ring of full brown lip drops down

and lifts to bare the teeth that gnawed at sugar cane,

at dogs, at cats and then the nightly field mice,

those teeth, those careful finders

seek in crevices of bone for slivers,

leave not one unpicked.

He shivers furry, monkey maned.

She lumbers to him up the path, tumid-breasted,

warming to the hunger.


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