by Chloe Martinez
In pictures: his round ruminant belly. He chews betel leaves all day. Bright ochre legs, sensitive face, framed with a white ruff. When blinking: mysterious blue eyelids. How do we protect it? We bring people. They see the monkey and they fall in love. Unburdened, confident, the eco-tour guide took us up the mountain. Even the children grew quiet, squinting into the leafy depths. Finally we stopped and gazed into the douc’s shining eyes, which remained quite open, no blue to see but that of the sky. We stood in the empty road clutching cameras. Meanwhile, the douc, regal, plucked a branch and removed each one of its leaves, just as I do with a bunch of basil. His sharp little mouth moved, chewing. The sea like a sparkling tray was held up in the background of him. The red-shanked douc ignored it. ____
Chloe Martinez is a poet and scholar of South Asian religions. She is the author of Corner Shrine (Backbone Press, 2020), which won the 2019 Backbone Press Chapbook Competition, and Ten Thousand Selves (The Word Works, forthcoming 2021). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Waxwing, Shenandoah, The Common and elsewhere. She teaches at Claremont McKenna College. See more at www.chloeAVmartinez.com.