You’re on a date with a pygmy marmoset,
your hand wrapped entirely around his
body, his fur gold-dusted with sunlight.
Your server balances a pile of old telephone
books on a booster seat, and you set him down.
“The owner’s grandmother insists we keep these
in the office for such occasions.” She lays
a menu in front of each of you and lists
the chef’s specials. From across the table,
his yellow eyes look out from his brown
head, the puff of a seeding dandelion. You order
a bottle of a Finger Lakes Gewurztraminer, the closest
to tree sap you can get, a wine glass, and a small
ramekin. Earlier that day you saw that the second
most popular search term for pygmy marmosets
was “pygmy marmosets for sale.” If you had a tail,
it would’ve tied itself in knots. How could that be
legal? You swallow the thought with water
not wanting to upset him, recalling
how sensitive he was last date when you went
zip gliding and someone called him
a “mini monkey.” The ice clinks gently against
your glass as you set it down on the linen.
“What looks good?” you ask. You like the way
he holds his pointer talon at the line
he’s reading. “Did you see the Monkfish?
They crush the flying ants tableside,” he says.
“Cooking with insects is hot right now,” you say,
wondering if you could swap out crispy Chinicuil Worms
for tamarind crickets with the pork belly.