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Elephant


From the rickshaw in Mumbai

we gasped when we saw her— haphazardly heaped with hay-bales that nearly doubled her size, dripping with afternoon light. Her driver rocked on the rippling gray sea of her, a skinny turbaned silhouette against the gold.


I think I rode an elephant once—

or was it only a dream?

Climbing the ladder with my two

girls, sitting astride her broad

carpeted back. I can still feel her

pitching beneath us as we clung

to the braided fringe and she bumbled

along her frayed dusty track.


But mostly I remember the top

of her head: a few hairs rising

from between fluid ears, a mostly bald dome—vulnerable, like an elder who’s given her all.

Surrendered now: I’ll go where you lead. I’ll rest in your shade. I’ll carry what you give.

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