Two Prose Poems by Russell Edson
The Family Monkey
We bought an electric monkey, experimenting rather recklessly with funds carefully gathered since grandfather’s time for the purchase of a steam monkey.
We had either, by this time, the choice of an electric or gas monkey.
The steam monkey is no longer being made, said the monkey merchant.
But the family always planned on a steam monkey.
Well, said the monkey merchant, just as the wind-up monkey gave way to the steam monkey, the steam monkey has given way to the gas and electric monkeys.
Is that like the grandfather clock being replaced by the grandchild clock?
Sort of, said the monkey merchant.
So we bought the electric monkey, and plugged its umbilical cord into the wall.
The smoke coming out of its fur told us something was wrong.
We had electrocuted the family monkey.
In a back room a man is performing an autopsy on an old raincoat.
His wife appears in the doorway with a candle and asks, how does it go?
Not now, not now, I’m just getting to the lining, he murmurs with impatience.
I just wanted to know if you found any blood clots?
For my necklace . . .