—RIP Koko, The Gorilla Who Used
Sign Language, 1972–20 June 2018*

Sheep in wolf’s clothing, Melon Man’s
what the Town and Country grocery with
biggest best batches of sweetest honeydews
at bargain basement prices called me.

Green magumbos just ripe enough
so my orangutan thumbs could press
into them like brawny pitting edema
in American College of Cardiology
Class IV endstage congestive heart
failure patients’ legs and even thighs.

At first if others in line or checkers
asked, I told them we had a large family
or they were for work picnics or even
pretended to donate to the local orphanage.

When those excuses weren’t fruitful, the untruth
stretched to let the still curious imagine
that I supplied Stanford’s Primate Center
where my Stanford Med School roommate
was doing cardiac transplantation research
including cutting edge pioneering cardiac-assist
implantations which consisted of placing
prototype left-ventricular pumps—devices
were so big that recipient animals were gorillas
and cows—can you imagine the logistics housing,
anesthetizing, positioning for bovine surgery?

Once for my birthday which is in September
just about the time cantaloupe season’s done
and before Crenshaw’s take center stage,
the kids carved out half a watermelon
which the wife plopped on my head and took
a Polaroid of before I knew what was happening.

During my heyday around the autumn equinox
I’d run to pee all night. Got so bad that the duties
of my job were affected and eventually I got fired
but convinced the monkey minders to hire
out their fresh produce procurement to me.

Rounding the bend of seventy-three, this chimp
rarely allows such sugar water indulgences.

Image credit:Tomas Yates

Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, has been nominated for Pushcarts and authored four collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016) which included work published by Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins andin Gargoyle, American Journal of Poetry (Margie), Main Street Rag, MiPOesias, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Voices Israel, Tishman Review, Suisun Valley Review, Burningwood Review, Fiction Southeast, Junto, Tiferet plus featured in New Verse News, Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords, Floor Plan, Good-Man-Project, Anti-Heroin-Chic, Poetry Circle, Fiction Southeast, Walt Whitman Tribute Anthology and Tipton Review. mce-anchor“Amber Of Memory” was the single poem chosen for my 50thcollege reunion symposium on Bob Dylan. Mount Analogue selected Sarnat’s sequence, KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY, for pamphlet distribution on Inauguration Day 2017 as part of the Washington DC and nationwide Women’s Marches. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit GerardSarnat.com. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO and Stanford Med professor. Married for a half century, Gerry has three kids and four grandkids so far.