My Babbles has a nasty knack
Of keeping monkeys on her back.
Her back is filled with ‘monkeys’ now
A tattooed memoir recording how
Those she knows have done her wrong
She wears these grudges all day long.
In actual fact, they do all vary
These ink pictures extraordinary
Their collective term pays tribute to
The first, original grudge tattoo.
A monkey with a face-wide grin
Recalls a small triumphant win –
Mother, always on her back,
Avenged by frenzied ape attack.
Pervading Babble’s upbringing
Dodging shit, then mud-slinging.
Ironic justice, mother at the zoo,
Was once the target of chimp-flung poo.
Indelible image (now indelible ink)
Babbles was then aged eight she thinks
Oblivious to the apt metaphor
The ape returned to what it did before.
In Babble’s mind the scene stayed vivid
Her mother’s face grotesquely livid
Still now, the day recalled plainly…
What did she have for evening tea?
NB: Re(pre)sent received an Honourable Mention in the 2021 ‘Literary Taxidermy’ Competition, where entrants were invited to create a new work between the first and last lines of a poem by New Zealand author, Katherine Mansfield. You can read more about the experimental process of literary taxidermy here.