The Friendship Is Over
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 lisareily.wordpress.com