Pig-Tailed Macaque is a medium sized Old World monkey who reaches
a weight of 5-15 kg in large males and is found in the southern
half of the Malay Peninsula (only just extending into southernmost
Thailand), Borneo, Sumatra and Bangka Island. They are mostly found
in rainforest up to 2000 meters, but will also enter plantations
and gardens. They are buff-brown with a darker back and lighter
lower parts of the body and their short tail is held semi-erect
and reminiscent of the tail of a pig. They are mainly terrestrial
but they also are skilled climbers. Unlike almost all primates they
love water. They live in large groups split into smaller groups
during the day when they are looking for food. They are omnivorous,
feeding mainly on fruits, seeds, berries, cereals, fungi and invertebrates.
There is a hierarchy among males, based on strength and among females,
based on heredity. Thus, the daughter of the dominant female will
immediately be placed above all other females in the group. The
dominant female leads the group, while the male role is more to
manage conflict within the group and to defend it. Sexual maturity
is reached at the age of 3-5 years and gestation lasts about 6 months.
A mother will give birth to one infant every two years. Weaning
occurs at 4-5 months. They are Vulnerable because there is reason
to believe the species has declined by at least 30% over the past
30-36 years due primarily by loss of habitat, which is very serious
in many parts of its range. There is extensive loss of lowland forest
in Malaysia and Indonesia to expanding oil palm plantations, as
well as to logging and agricultural expansion. This species is also
frequently shot as a crop pest and hunted for food.
The bomb is timed to go off
in exactly fifteen minutes.
"Better drink up your coffee, quick,"
says a young woman to her friend.
A couple are passing by.
"Let's stop here for a quick bite,"
"I know a cheaper place," says he,
and they walk on.
The cook's kids are tugging at his ankles.
"Go outside and play!" he shouts.
And then a woman comes back in,
asks the waitress, "Did I leave my glasses case here?"
Kids obey. She pockets her misplaced case and leaves.
The cook laughs. The waitress counts her tips.
The two ladies pay up and depart.
And one young man reaches the end
of one chapter of The Beautiful And The Damned
and hasn't the time to go onto the next.
But there's an old man, head in menu,
unable to decide.
And a nurse showing her engagement ring
to her sister.
A college kid reading a newspaper.
A white-haired woman
taking time over her desert.
And the waitress. And the cook.
Just in case you wish to know,
"Who were these people?"
John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published
in International Poetry Review, Sanskrit and the science fiction
anthology, The Kennedy Curse with work upcoming in Clackamas
Literary Review, Paterson Review and Nerve Cowboy.