Rochelle Nameroff
Finding the Way Home

Darling, I've been watching the monkeys.
I've been slouching on the bed all morning,
elbows on pillows, and watching the monkeys.

I saw the uakari monkey from Brazil
with its shaved magenta face, the spider monkey
swiping handfuls of fruit, while his tail,

like a tough fifth hand, spread its fingers
around the tree.  I looked at
the elegant blue genitals of the vervet.

But just because
there's a nature book on the blanket
doesn't mean that I'm a fake.

I'm on page 273 where a photograph
of a very young loris from Malaysia
stares back at me, its two hunk-of-coal eyes

threatening to become one or cry trying.
The book calls it an Asian bush baby,
a relative of the lemurs and tarsiers.

Denise once said I was a lemur because of my eyes.
Not because of sadness I hope.
When I got rounder my pet name was Panda,

and Ron called me a Little Bear for years.
I think I am this loris in front of me though
who clutches its one uncertain twig forever,

two eyes inside a puffball of hair.
The book shows that eyes are not enough,
that toes are good.  But the loris

finds its way home at night by the smell of urine.
It pees on its paws and then handprints
the map of its own home territory

like a signature of tears.
I would prefer a cleaner scent myself
but I'd close my eyes in happiness

if you walked in right now,
your body smelling of warmth and abandonment,
of cigarettes and books and years of abandonment.