On my birthday, my mother takes delivery
of a baby capuchin. For a week
she has been converting her study
into a nursery, with a cot
and yellow curtains, cupcake patterned.
She feeds the monkey
warm milk from a bottle,
little chunks of papaya and apple.
Hushes and lulls, names it Laura.
The monkey’s scared brown eyes roll like olives.
I want to shake them out of the jar.
Laura wears tiny dungarees
and pinafores, my baby clothes
from the attic, where my parents
had been saving them for grandchildren.
Her photo replaces mine on the fridge.
‘This one,’ my mother says, pinning
the monkey’s nappy, ‘will not grow up.’