"And see how the flesh grows backacross a wound, with a great vehemence" --Jane Hirschfield
Harry Harlow was her secret incubus.
Oh, she would never admit it,
and he probably Titanic-ed his pecker on the iceberg,
but he was there, always,
a wire mesh cage in either hand.
My brother told me I fell out of a cereal box,
with Harry Harlow's research notes printed on the back.
Facts are sketchy and suspect when you're the youngest by nine years,
but the obvious
is the obvious
even to a monkey.
She knew what was truly valuable--
These are the eternal things, or should be.
One by one, the males swung off into the jungle,
except for the steadfast Harry Harlow,
who stayed up nights with her, drying her tears with a terrycloth towel.
One thing about her,
she was good data.
To protect the furniture,
she wrapped me inside of a good strong sack.
Harry Harlow painted a smiling simian face on the outside,
and then they swung it,
to the strains of a Benny Goodman record he had.
I remember the pulse of the percussion.
Harry Harlow's rhesus macaques were seriously fucked up.
They and I are sibling parcels, arriving via night terror,
our broken parts rattling alarmingly in the deliveryman's hands.
I have grown back well,
like a tree around an obstacle,
but the troupe is up in the branches, big-eyed and pissing themselves.
Harry Harlow was her secret incubus,
and together they proved what any imbecile knows already.
Pick me up, I'm a mess.
Swing me inside a tire, I won't know the difference.
Mama, be proud, I have never in my adult life broken a dish,
except in my dreams,
which cannot be logged by Harry Harlow or any other demon.
for Real Toads mini-challenge. Harry Harlow is known for his heartless maternal deprivation experiments on monkeys. Happy Mother's Day, Harry, wherever you are.