Diane Lockward

Your Blue Shirt

Left behind like a cicada shell,
it hangs, so incredibly
blue. I slip into it, wear it like skin,
the body I loved all over me—
my breasts, my back, my neck—
your scent in the weave.
All day I breathe you in,
put off the final disrobing.



The Wrong Monkey

            Nine Snow Monkeys Escape from Oregon Animal Testing Lab
                        —Alex Felsinger, Planetsave, 4/04/09

When the guard forgot to lock the cage,
they'd snatched as many bananas
as they could carry and, like prisoners
seeking freedom, hopped the fence.
Hope lay in the leaf-covered branches of trees.

Notices went out: Primates on the Run.
Pictures were posted on telephone poles:
Have you seen these monkeys?
Anonymous callers reported monkeys at the mall,
monkeys on the university campus,
monkeys near the railroad tracks.

Then an apple-assisted capture and eight monkeys
were back behind bars.

The head vet said, I think they had a good time.
I think they enjoyed the sunshine.
Describing the one monkey still at large, he warned,
If you find a monkey wearing a wool cap,
that’s the wrong monkey.

Security is tightened, guards retrained,
trees downed, the old fence monkey-proofed.

To discourage recidivism, the captured monkeys
receive peanuts and caramels.
They spend their days eating their treats,
grooming each other, and hitting the bars.

They dream of when they'd dared to run
and turned their small, red faces
to the sun. They dream of leaves.
They dream of needles and yarn.
They are learning to knit.

Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry books, most recently, Temptation by Water (Wind Publications, 2010). Her poems have been published in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac.



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