Brass Monkey

the brass monkey seemed real --
not like a real monkey,
but like a real supplicant,
making a real offering

i guess its realness 
was the realness
of human wishfulness

it looked real
because it looked like
what a human desires in
a monkey --
rather than how an 
actual monkey would behave,
hightailing it with the fruit
up to too lofty a height
to have its jackfruit repossessed

i read that the original
"brass monkey"
was a cannonball rack 
on an old-timey sailing ship,
then the term came to
refer to cold weather, 
because the differential
contraction of cold metal 
would cause the cannonballs 
to pop off the rack --
hence the saying:
"cold enough to freeze
the balls off a brass monkey!"
and, somewhere along the way,
it also became a low-brow 
malt liquor cocktail

seems strange that so many 
brass monkeys would exist
that weren't monkey-shaped,
or even made of brass --
but such is the way of words