Michelle Bonczek Evory

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.


Headshot: Michelle Bonczek Evory | Image Credit: Rob Evory


Michelle Bonczek Evory is the author of The Ghosts of Lost Animals and Naming the Unnameable: An Approach to Poetry for New Generations. She mentors writers through The Poet’s Billow.