i study a piece of folded cloth in a fabric store
while waiting in line to buy some velcro strapping
to hold things better together at home and when
i load my pack with slippery things to take with me

the cloth is a print fabric of monkeys twirling
umbrellas in different positions. some monkeys
balance the umbrellas on their head, while some
stand on their head and spin the umbrellas with toes

the way the cloth is folded some of what i see is
so badly out of context. umbrellas lying against
umbrellas, monkeys standing on monkeys and
holding nothing except a hand that has been cut

off from its umbrella and so is dawdling in space
at the edge of the fold in the cloth, where no one
could care nor easily tell that he does not match
up. no one could say this monkey is out of place.

a shopping lady comes along and lifts the bolt of
cloth i have been studying, moving all the monkeys
into a whole new arrangement of positions. i see
now why women spend so much time shopping

while men just walk in and pick up what they need
and walk out. women are turning the things over in
their mind before the purchase to better comprehend
all the nuances of context. well, not all, but some.

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