Heritage and the Gorilla Suit

Arlene Ang


First thing you notice is the navel.

The less hair, the smoother its synthetic skin,

the better to feel along the table.

Your father is rubbing his face

on sweet corn.  He wears

his father's father on his checked tie.

The rings under his eyes are what's left

of cold drinks and his inability

to use coasters.  Potato salad flips

the light bulb sideways.

Your mother is talking to the reflection

in her knife.  Everyone, including

the bust of Lincoln, has their back to her.

Why are your hands so blue?

She wants to know.

It's the dye in the gorilla suit factory.

Dyeing is your least favorite part

of the process.  You bring your work home

and all everyone can say is

You don't look too good.

Arlene Ang lives in Spinea, Italy. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Envoi, Forklift Ohio, Georgetown Review, In Posse Review, Other Poetry, Rattle and Stand. She is the recipient of The 2006 Frogmore Poetry Prize and serves as a poetry editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. More of her work can be viewed at http://www.leafscape.org/aang