Monkey Business

by Robert Murray

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I wouldn’t call it that exactly—no willful tomfoolery,
certainly not on the part of my daughter. Yet
the malaprop mischief in me was surely at play that day
her pre-school word flub snickered the air between us
and hung around, like an unacknowledged kid fart.
Because the elementary school monkey bars
had just become the wonky bars, in much the same
way her Grampy became Bumpy and dizzy became busy.
Bumpy all but peed himself laughing when told—wonky,
after all, one of his favorite words, Sam no doubt
picked it up from him the day she toddled
through his living room, heard that strange sound,
turned and crooked her nose up at him before he leapt
and tickled her all the way to the kitchen cookie jar—
arms flapping, two wild geese honking wonky, wonky,
wonky. Okay, so I’m not sure that’s exactly how
she’d remember it, or, whether that even matches
my own memory, exactly. Could be just my mind
playing tricks again as I take a break
from the grunt work of making sure
the condo roof is winterized, kick my feet up
on the couch. But if home movie memories
get a well-deserved schmaltz pass
with a based-on-a-true-story caveat,
then the one I’m watching right now
and trusting as true
shows my ever-impish father
spinning my toddler daughter
around and around a faded and cracked
linoleum kitchen floor with her squealing
louder and louder—Wonky, Wonky,
Wonky, I’m busy! 


end of story

© 2021, Robert Murray Also by Robert Murray