Elephant in the RV
When elephants gather I cannot look too closelyor watch windmills of mountains sway
or the water that comes as a trickle from the eye.
I cannot watch the long arm curl and curl
around the stubby youngster
or the curious mouth on the end
or the gushing coolness from it
blown with glee.
I cannot watch from the air
the dusty countless snaking
one-at-a-time foot plodding miles of path;
they look so thirsty.
Or the elephant’s eyelashor cut of the small mouth, sad smile,
or imagine the size of the mediastinum,
space of the heart;
because they are almost too big to save,
and too small in number. I can’t take two
and hide them in the RV,
begin a breeding program.
I cannot feed them their favorite vegetables and fruit in seasonwhile I drink coffee and write every morning;
or watch through the loft window with the black dog
as the two gray lovers amble down the slow slope
to the field, where they give each other the
most tender grasses,
lean their rough heads together,earth quake of a quiet rumbling
like a cat begins to purr.
I cannot name them Wilson and Beth,or Sebastian and Murgatroid, or Lily and Ben.
They came already named--Mary and Lewis,
and over the years of them living in the Northwest,
the trails they flatten have grown,all the flowers around the house
mud pit at the lower end of the hill collectsthe rainwater. Mary runs when she feels the drops
on her back, trumpets to Lewis to come join her.
He walks steady and deliberate swaying trunk widelyuntil he gets to the mud where Mary is already wallowing.
He slides in next to her; they roll and giggle, skyscraper sides
darken with shine.
One day Mary came and woke me, pulled at my arm until I got up,and there in the open barn I built for them, in the gold straw,
steam rose like a hand from the little one,
slippery from landing.
And I crouched down to get a better look;round swimmer of remembering womb,
unlikely angel, wobble on little pillars,
a wet and dark cloud, old man skin baby
of the giants from the desert
I cannot admit I love.
c2012 T.L.Stokes (all rights reserved)