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The other day, a truck filled with monkeys
crashed on the turnpike. They were
laboratory monkeys, part of an experiment
studying what happens to people
when they watch caged monkeys
watching television
eight hours a day. Each
bore a name it could not pronounce,
given to it to make the experiment
more fun for the scientists.
I call thee Ruth, after my mother-in-law!

This episode got me thinking:
scientists love to name things,
every name an archaic mispronunciation
of the name of God. The heavens
are filled with bright saddled objects,
a vocabulary of mispronunciations;
the jungles crawl
with broken bits of God.
And with each naming, the world
recoils slightly, slipping away
to protect its heart.

The monkeys understand this.
When the truck crashed,
one of them escaped.
It wandered the suburbs of this life,
consumed with worry, noting for the first time
the loneliness it felt. Eventually,
it returned to the lab with a message.
I have seen the shadow of television, it said,
and we must be prepared;
if the distance between things
ever grows faster
than the speed of light,
we will have to find another way
to love each other.

This too gets me thinking:
there are more than two hundred
versions of the bible
that contain a story about a monkey

reading the bible aloud.
For some reason, the monkey,
like a dutiful scientist,
always mispronounces the name of God.
Sometimes, it stops
to contemplate the error
and try again. Other times,
the name of God is changed forever.
In both cases, the outcome is identical:
alone, I look for kindness, but
all I find is same.


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