Lament for the Littlest Fellow: a Poem by Edith L. Tiempo

Lament for the Littlest Fellow
by Edith L. Tiempo

The littlest fellow was a marmoset.
He held the bars and blinked his old man’s eyes.
You said he knew us, and took my arms and set
My fingers around the bars, with coaxing mimicries
Of squeak and twitter. “Now he thinks you are
Another marmoset in a cage.” A proud denial
Set you to laughing, shutting back a question far
Into my mind, something enormous and final.

The question was unasked but there is an answer.
Sometimes in your sleeping face upon the pillow,
I would catch our own little truant unaware;
He had fled from our pain and the dark room of our rage,
But I would snatch him back from yesterday and tomorrow.
You wake, and I bruise my hands on the living cage.