One Poem by Lisa Reily

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

The Friendship Is Over

Sped along a track in a high-speed sled,
secured against flailing in a special flying suit,
a chimp with windblast burns on his face;
his fear grimace, almost a human smile –
the perfect disposition for space travel.

Hundreds of macaques in secret boxes,
transported on regular passenger planes;
their teeth chatter, they can hardly move;
and oblivious, we sit in economy class,
complaining about the food and leg room.

A mother monkey drugged, her milky nipples
deliberately taped; her baby cries, shakes her;
but she cannot wake to feed him; she falls
in her attempt, to the sound of human laughter;
she is an experiment, on childhood neglect.

Sad-eyed macaques in empty steel cages pick
at bottle top apparatus jutting from their heads,
like they are bottles of soft drink; only blood,
not soft drink, drips slowly down their cheeks;
and chemicals, not sugars, stream into their brains.

A captive chimpanzee taught sign language
accumulates the vocabulary of a human child,
and befriends the scientists who taught him;
the experiment over, they prod him with needles,
and give him AIDS; the friendship is over.


Lisa Reily is a former literacy consultant, dance director and teacher from Australia. Her poetry has been published in several journals, such as Panoply, Magma and Foxglove Journal. Lisa is currently a budget traveller with two bags, one laptop and no particular home. You can find out more at

2 thoughts on “One Poem by Lisa Reily

  1. Loved this Lisa, well done, especially the image of a the drugged monkey with taped nipples. It reminded me of haunting images from the concentration camps when experiments were carried out!
    Sitting here with my 2 Yorkies who also feel pain, happiness and grief as I do. They just can’t voice their feelings but you can see it in their eyes and behavior.
    In the future humans may replace animals for experiments and still people will presend it isn’t happening.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.