One season after my wife died, Mailwoman Susan delivered a monkey to my home. “Who’s this from, Susan?” “It’s from me. I’m retiring and I want to give you a gift.” “Are you giving everyone you delivered mail to a monkey?” “Only you and my grandfather. He wants to feel like a young spry animal.” “Thank you for the monkey.” “You’re most welcome. What a wonderful day it is.”
I laughed as Susan trotted away. A December snowstorm howled through our pin-on-a-map town. “I really should have put on a jacket,” I chided to myself. “Or a shirt, pants, and underwear. My feet are quite warm in these wool ski socks.”
My monkey came in a wood crate. Across the top, the crate declared its timber came from trees felled in the Amazon. I lifted with my knees to carry it under living room glare. Yet when I reached my front steps, I slipped onto an ice sheet like an eucalyptus hacked down in a faraway jungle. As I gaped upon wood shards, a monkey walked like a human in an envelopment of white. I got up and stood naked before this ancestral cousin.
Wrinkled at my feet, I picked up a note that got tucked inside the crate: “Since your hairy wife died, I became more and more depressed delivering all your sad mail. I’ve trained this monkey to be your new wife.” I collected the timber, tossed it into my fireplace, and sparked a blue-smile fire. The flames French kissed my body as the monkey froze in a storm only getting meaner.
Keith Mark Gaboury earned a M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. His chapbooks were released through Duck Lake Books, The Pedestrian Press, and Finishing Line Press. Keith is also the president of the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers Club. Learn more at keithmgaboury.com.