The flying monkeys flew in
from Oz to suburbia
and landed just in time
for Sunday dinner.
Sat there on the neat margins
between the sidewalks and the curbs —
crouching on the fresh cut grass,
shitting on the blade savaged dandelions.
Did you know there is a word
for that strip of green between?
It’s called “the verge.” The flying monkeys
were on the verge
that Sunday. Jackets,
hats, attitudes intact, acting
exactly as we’d expect: tails tucked,
wings folded, waiting for orders.
Down the block from here
someone cracked a screen door
and said, “You look hungry. Why don’t you
come in for a bite,” to the ones
perched outside their house.
One by one the monkeys filed inside.
The neighborhood was dead quiet.
What was going on in there?
The monkeys came out hours later
dressed in the clothes of the folks
who had invited them in, who followed
the monkeys naked into the streets,
who stood passive as they were taken
and lifted and carried higher and higher,
seeming to rise almost forever
until they vanished; then some among us
rushed to proclaim this
the Rapture at last while others
simply laughed and clapped their hands
along with the suddenly welcome
flying monkeys and their magical
flight plans, and more and more
stripped and flew, stripped and flew,
and the monkeys took over
their empty homes and their jobs,
their routines. They folded up
their wings tight under T-shirts
and mowed the lawns and even
the verges, sat out sunning themselves
in their yards in swimsuits, their tails
slung lazily to one side of the lounge chairs
or the other. That’s how it’s been for a while now;
now and then, a distant scream; now and then,
decomp on the wind as if somewhere
there’s a huge and growing pile of broken bodies
in a valley just beyond the verge of sight.
Those of us left aren’t saying much.
There are a lot of monkeys around,
and frankly we can’t tell the difference
anymore. Not sure
who’s giving the orders about
who flies and who gets flown, who rises
and who falls. We fret, we fear,
we whisper to each other that old line,
“these things must be done delicately,”
even though it’s clear
that for the monkeys, that’s no longer true:
no. No, they most certainly do not.