Apples, Cherries, Apricots & Other Fruits in a Basket, with Pears, Plums, Robins, a Woodpecker, a Parrot, & a Monkey Eating Nuts on a Table

by Padraig Regan

after Clara Peeters

I can’t stay angry at my little capuchin even though I was looking forward to those walnuts
which he holds in his wonderfully long fingers like an anatomist giving a lecture on the brain,
before nibbling at the edges as if he was some sort of metaphor for some sort of neurological disease.

I know that I cannot trust my little capuchin around fresh fruit: what he doesn’t eat he smears on the walls
in a fragrant impasto. At first I thought to indulge these creations but the black crusts of flies (his only patrons)
were more than I could tolerate. I tried to make him stop & he crushed a nectarine into my face.

Whenever my little capuchin looks up at me with those big, paperweight eyes, I find reserves
of forgiveness that I never knew existed; suddenly I don’t mind so much about the broken plates, the shredded
tapestries, the piss-stains on the sofa, the nutty grenades of shit he throws to welcome visitors.

He knows that quivering his little capuchin chin & shaking his tail is enough to make me turn the other
cheek to the bodies of robins, woodpeckers, parrots, & other birds which are littered around his haunches
like the shells of those walnuts which he holds in his wonderfully long fingers like a puppeteer.