A Space Monkey

Costumed Monkey with Tobacco Pouch and Pipe Case, late 19th-early 20th century, Japan

When I see this monkey I think of space. He could be one of Stanley Kubrick’s obelisk rubbing primates. It makes me wonder where this strange traveling monkey came from. He looks so wise and almost exhausted with knowledge. Looking at him from the left you might be conned into believing that he is wearing some kind of soft cap—but no—observing him dead on there can be no mistake. This is a space monkey if ever there was one.

The ceramic monkey predates Abel and Baker’s mythic trip into orbit by at least sixty years. He has survived long enough to see even Men on the Moon. His eyes are glazed and worrisome. He has seen too much. Not just the horrors or puzzles of humanity—but he has seen everything he knew in the world sink back into orbit and become so small it could all be covered by the span of his thumb as he looked down from space.

His body consists of well-groomed, uniform, neatly kempt fur. The mouth is an off kilter gash ridged in perfectly even, monkey-white teeth. The lips are parted slightly, like he wants to talk but all that comes out are slights wisps of an inaudible sigh. His secrets are locked down. His experiences have accumulated on the marks of his body. The blue glaze of his outfit is seeping over his fur. Space suit and beast have become indivisible.

Laura Cherry

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