First Anniversary, With Monkeys

By Aimee Nezhukumatathil Aimee Nezhukumatathil

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.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "First Anniversary, with Monkeys" from At the Drive-In Volcano. Copyright © 2007 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil.  Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.

Source: At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo Press, 2007)

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Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Subjects Living, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

 Aimee  Nezhukumatathil

Biography

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of Miracle Fruit (2003), winner of the ForeWord Magazine Poetry Book of the Year and the Global Filipino Literary Award; At the Drive-In Volcano (2007), winner of the Balcones Prize; and Lucky Fish (2011). Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, FIELD, and American Poetry Review. Her honors and awards include a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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