You haven’t finished your ape, said mother to father,
who had monkey hair and blood on his whiskers.

I’ve had enough monkey, cried father.

You didn’t eat the hands, and I went to all the
trouble to make onion rings for its fingers, said mother.

I’ll just nibble on its forehead, and then I’ve had enough,
said father.

I stuffed its nose with garlic, just like you like it, said

Why don’t you have the butcher cut these apes up? You lay
the whole thing on the table every night; the same fractured
skull, the same singed fur; like someone who died horribly. These
aren’t dinners, these are post-mortem dissections.

Try a piece of its gum, I’ve stuffed its mouth with bread,
said mother.

Ugh, it looks like a mouth full of vomit. How can I bite into
its cheek with bread spilling out of its mouth? cried father.

Break one of the ears off, they’re so crispy, said mother.

I wish to hell you’d put underpants on these apes; even a
jockstrap, screamed father.

Father, how dare you insinuate that I see the ape as anything
more thn simple meat, screamed mother.

Well what’s with this ribbon tied in a bow on its privates?
screamed father.

Are you saying that I am in love with this vicious creature?
That I would submit my female opening to this brute? That after
we had love on the kitchen floor I would put him in the oven, after
breaking his head with a frying pan; and then serve him to my husband,
that my husband might eat the evidence of my infidelity . . . ?

I’m just saying that I’m damn sick of ape every night,
cried father.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Russell Edson's poem Ape


  1. Sally Francis says:

    I think the mother is fed up with eating with her husband every night, and is looking elsewhere for her amusement.

  2. KevinJ says:

    I would get sick of eating ape *every* night too I suppose.
    Isn’t Edson a genius? [Yep]

  3. David says:

    no will, i just think he’s sick of eating ape.

  4. Will says:

    I’ve had the privilege to study Mr. Edson’s work this semester and I must say that he will go down as my favorite poet throughout literature. To the other commenter, Amy, This poem has nothing to do with animal cruelty. The ape, represents man’s primal side. The constant clash between man and ape in Edson’s works, is not a battle between two individuals, it’s a battle within man himself. The necessity for constant balance between the civilized side and the animal(ape) side of man is the point that Edson was trying to convey. The poem, Ape, is of man conquering his primal side.

  5. Jennifer says:

    beautiful. simply beautiful.

  6. Amy says:

    This poem is away to bring people’s attention to the severity of animal cruelty

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