Scientific Method

Of course I chose the terry cloth surrogate. Milkless
artifice. False idol. Everyone, I’m told, has a mother,

but Master bred me in a laboratory, his colony
of orphans. Rhesus macaque. Macaca mulatta. Old
World monkeys, my matriarchs ruled the grasslands

and forests long before white men like him weaned
their whiteness and maleness from our chromosomes,

slashed and burned our home, what they once called
The Orient. French Indochina. Việt Nam. Master,
like a good despot, besotted and dumbstruck, dying

to discern the genesis of allegiance, the science of love
and loss, nature versus nurture, segregated me at birth

from my maker, pelt sopping with placental blood.
In a chamber where he kept track of me, his pupils
recorded my every movement, my every utterance,

hoping I might evince to them a part of themselves.
But I wasn’t stupid. I knew famine and emaciation,

and nevertheless I picked that lifeless piece of shit
because it was soft to hold. Who wouldn’t want that?
Though it couldn’t hold me, I clung to the yellow-face

devil as though it was my true mother and I grasped
the function of motherhood: witness to my suffering,

companion in hell. Unlike infants with wire mothers
I didn’t hurl myself on the floor in terror or tantrum,
rocking back and forth, colder than a corpse. I had

what Master believed to be a psychological base
of operations. Emotional attachment. Autonomy.

Everything he denied and did to me, his ceaseless
cruelty concealed as inquisition, unthinkable until
it was thought, I endured by keeping for myself

the wisdom he yearned to discover and take credit
for. Love, like me, is a beast no master can maim,

no dungeon can discipline. Love is at once master
and dungeon. So don’t underestimate me. Simple-
minded and subservient as I might appear to be,

I gathered more about Master than he did
about me, which, I guess, is a kind of fidelity

conceived not from fondness but fear magnified
by fascination. Master made me his terry cloth
surrogate, his red-clawed god, nursing his id

on my tits, and for that, I pitied him. All this time
he was the animal. All this time he belonged to me.