21

I was too small when the mama elephant appeared to me.
She had just given birth to her baby.  But she wanted to run
over the broad flat land, faster than baby legs would allow
her; faster, faster.  She left when he was still sticky.

Her gallop was the sound of a forest falling.  And we were
silent under the dust of her cloud.  The baby, almost dead
when they arrived, died.
She must have known.  I didn’t know

that he would drain and all that would be left
would be his baby thick elephant skin.  The ground
drank one part of him.  The settled cloud absorbed him.
But he was nowhere exactly.

Elephant grey, the sky opened and water fell into his mouth.
I thought I saw a leg swell.  I prayed that he would move on
his thick, empty legs.  A cavity, I thought
to fill him.  And in a way, my thoughts did grow him.

He grew wider and broader, much heavier.  More, more, his
limbs hung over my shoulder as I followed the settled dust on
a trail I hoped was her’s.  For what?  A freedom finder
doesn’t leave the track of a dragged elephant behind her.

Jessica Parkinson

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