Back home

Already the week in Costa Rica is beginning to fade in the chill morning fog of the Bay Area, but it was such a deep pleasure to experience the tropical rain forrest, a week when I was never cold, when I awoke each morning to monkeys and sometimes was awakened by them. A few times the troupe of Howler Monkeys that lived in the tall trees near the house would start their eerie and very loud calls at four in the morning. The locals said the Howlers “called the rain.” I don’t know about that, but they were compelling!

Here is your monkey poem from Amiee Nezhukumatathil, and a photo of a white-faced monkey taken from our deck–for us this was closer to our 53rd anniversary.

First Anniversary with Monkeys

                 Periyar Nature Preserve

There is no crumbly frozen cake to thaw.
Today, we are in the jungle. I mean mosquito. I mean

tigers and elephants sludging their way
to the lake for a drink and Don’t make sudden moves

or snakes startled from an afternoon nap
will greet you fang first. I think we are lost. Too hot

for any cold confection to survive. Even my tube
of sunblock is as warm as a baby’s bottle. You get

to those places I can’t reach, those places I dared
not even whisper before I walked down the aisle

in white. You never worried if our families
would clash, if they would clang like the clutch

of pale monkeys clanging the thin branches of the treetrops,
begging for our trail mix. You never worried

about my relatives staring at your pale, muscled calves—
things not usually seen outside of the bedroom. You wore

hiking shorts anyway. And still, they lavished ladle-fuls
of food on your plate. I think we are lost. My eyes are dark

and wet as that wild deer that walked right past us,
a little off the trail. I think we are lost, but for once

I don’t mind. Eventually you turn us back to a place
not on any map, but I know I can trace it back with my finger

if we ever need it again. We made it one year
without a compass and we’re not about to start now.

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