after a painting by the same name by Gabriel von Max
What you don’t see
is the garden outside the window —
the ladies club, the monkey
before the skeleton, Lady Macbeth,
soap bubbles at rest.
There are nightingales in love,
a lion’s bride, a dusk of yearning.
Yet when you live in a house of primates,
live with the ecstatic virgin or a monkey
with a bouquet, the garden appears on its own
on your own kitchen table.
In the busy world, the sour experience
is not the lemon, but forgetting
to taste it, it’s being the stone-age man
and not the woman with windblown hair.
Let the monkeys eat the peonies today,
here they are the true
judges of art, the accomplished botanists
who believe in taste.
If we could all ingest a garden,
if we could knock down every vase.
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