THE WARTIME ISSUE
IN THESE TIMES
The monkeys are everywhere now, heaping piles
of trash inside the glass window of my television,
lifting the lids of the trash barrels. Grubbing for dinner,
they scoot along the top of the back yard fence,
one or two of them looking back over their shoulders
toward me as they pass. Count them, I say to myself,
count them: one, two, but I can’t keep looking,
they’re climbing the telephone pole, crossing
over the electrical lines, dipping down as they scoot
past the fir tree. I’m washing myself with water
and ink, trying to wipe away the stink they leave
behind them. I’m lying in a thicket of pine needles,
concentrating, inhaling the green sweetness.
But all around me the monkeys are smiling
their simian pleasures, mouthing words
back & forth to each other, they don’t see
that I’m listening, watching their exchange
of sidelong, blank-eyed glances. I’m standing
at the window, throwing stones at their shadows,
banging the TV’s long metal antennae, screaming
to ears that have no instrument for listening.
Marie Pavlicek-Wehrli, poet and painter, teaches poetry in the schools through the Maryland State Arts Council and the Writer's Center, Bethesda. She has been a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a resident artist at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and in 2005, received an Individual Artist Award in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council. She is currently in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Her poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Poet Lore, Beloit Poetry Journal, Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy, Cabin Fever, and Winners: A Retrospective of the Washington Prize.
Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.