by Kate Fereday Eshete

Jenny's Pea Snack

Jen! Jenny girl!
She snatches the succulent bundle from my grasp
and rests her leathery buttocks on the ground,
fingers deftly picking off pods,
she chirrups and coos, clicks and clucks,
hunched over the stalks;
pop goes a pod:
green peas.

Jen! Jenny girl!
She throws me a glance as she works through the pile
like a bargain-hunter in the January sales;
soon, empty pods and stripped stems scattered around,
she scratches her back and crosses her outstretched legs,
cheek pouches bulging;
pop goes the last pod:
the last pea.

She looks up expectantly,
no more?

Jen! Jenny girl!
She springs on to my shoulder with a playful cry
and a flourish of her long blond-tufted tail;
I savour her fresh, sweet breath and soft, brown fur,
as she grooms my hair, scratching my scalp with her nails,
warm, taut belly against my ear;
no pods to pop now,
sweet pea,
Jenny the Gelada.

The Gelada is a grass-eating monkey found only in the Ethiopian Highlands. Kate has been rescuing captive primates and returning them to the wild since 2006. To support her work, please make a donation to The Dinkenesh Fund.

Kate at work with Jenny the Gelada
Kate at work with Jenny the Gelada