To a Whitehanded Gibbon
Surely a star will save your place in line.
Surely you cannot go extinct in that high queue—
and we’ll keep a shirt-pocket of affection
always—even down in our thick mud of humanness—
for your notable quiet in daylight, your
plain, hollow howl in sunrise and late afternoon.
If only we could pledge to keep you clear
of searchlight sweeps and riflefire. Please
remember the ways of gathered rebels, their
huddled schemes to bomb the good Buddhist shrines.
Watch for bits of flying brick and mud, furred friend.
Walk tall—always—away from human lust and traders’ cravings,
lured by glassy touchable objects, by desires
for your wet and living wildlands.
Take spirit’s own care, my most slender animal—
small round head; body fur softly woolly.
Use the dignity of long arms made for
loops of swinging tree to tree, absentminded agility,
traveling subequatorial zones. Clever hands
like hooks. And so it is . . . we pack and travel
to film your keener savvy with gravity, breath, flex of spine.
We watch, we hope to save ourselves in your calm,
in the tree-feats your arms allow—arms long
as horse-antelope horns, arms raised
in your princely, upright stroll. We’ve heard
you take just the one mate in a lifetime,
and so it must be that miracles abound.
Can you forgive us our daily veils, dull homilies,
blind designs? Surely, wide-eyes,
you dismiss the question—rightly.
You fly off in the branches.