26: these monkeys that appeared one day

It was on a Wednesday when I
woke up early and found monkeys
on my arms, small monkeys
with red, yellow, and white faces, and black eyes
and little furry throats rabid with chatter
and fingers not much thicker and longer
than the individual letters of printed words.

The cashier asked me what was making all
that noise and I said, “Monkeys.”

Her eyes went up and down
and to the left and to the right.
I said “No” and showed her
the little monkeys swinging
from hair to hair on my arm.
“You should do something,” she said,
but not in a surprised way.
I said, “Yes but first I need to do
something about all the noise
they make on my arms and legs.
My children hear me coming and run.”

A neighbor called it a Monkey Swarm.
“It’s a swarm of monkeys,” she said.
“My favorite is that little one
with a yellow mask, the one
that keeps popping its head out
from between your index and middle
fingers.  And then there’s the one
that looks like a gorilla, that one there.”

The doctor said that periodically
it was true: out of a small percent
of the population some people
would suffer a spawning of monkeys,
others a swarm of snakes, yet others
a sudden appearance of cranes
behind the knees and little bickering
blue jays on the shoulders
and that no remedy had yet
to open the doors of pharma
and step out for bottling
other than, he said, a studied
calculation into feeding
and hydration of the outgrowth.

“But keep them happy,” he said,
“as a patient of mine who suffered
alligators tried introducing hippos
into the ecosystem of his skin
and found himself soon after eaten alive.”

“Which is dispiriting,” I said,
“because these monkeys,
especially this one with the white
face, who settles on my elbow
and hoots at passing traffic,
have turned my nights and daily
walks into concerts of calls,
eruptions of vicious monkey shouting,
and sometimes I fear they might
pick up a habit of biting.”

But they never took up
the habit of biting, no, these
little hordes of monkeys
on my hands and legs and arms,
some taking up residence
on my eye lids, weighing them down,
and I learned to live with them,
gave them each an appropriate
name, such as Henry and Charlie,
and hoped that one day,
one day surely soon, with little
help from the doctors or neighbors,
and with proper care of my person,
they would seek some other
land to swarm and swing on,
some other skin to disturb,
these monkeys that simply
appeared on me one day.