When I read about the bonobos—
the more peaceful cousins of chimpanzees—
The earth lurched.
Given a lexicon board with over 300 pictograms,
The bonobo Kanzi communicated with Sue,
The bonobo created new words,
lied, identified and expressed emotions.
Every human trait that set us apart and above the beasts
is ours no longer.
Birds make tools, bonobos invent words,
gorillas cry and mourn the death of a companion.
well, who knows what they say to each other?
Do all living creatures have souls?
Is there a cut-off between dogs and crows?
Do even stones have a measure of consciousness?
The bonobos opened the door of the tidy box
where I kept my assurances.
We share 98% of the same DNA with chimps.
My faith quaked.
I wrapped my arms around my hairless ape’s body
The poem above was inspired by this article in Smithsonian Magazine.
Many thanks to those who follow my blog. I’m deeply grateful that my poems and musings have readers.