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Sunday, November 29, 2009

This is not an elephant

"This is not an elephant,"
he confides to the child
as they oval round
captive creatures foreign
and featured in glassy habitats.

"See those four stout stumps
with their loose-pebble bottoms,
rooting him to the dust-bound earth
where his great girth grows?"
"Do you mean its legs?"

"Then pay attention to the gray
veined fans that swat and sway
to push away midges nibbling
heat into his giant's skull."
"Aren't those just ears?"

"There are twin ivory tines
he uses to stab and dine on
tightly packaged meals
the forest's cunning seals for him."
"I thought they were tusks?"

"Last, note his accordion's
appendage that dangles down
to fleet wrestle and greet
with a snicker or a shout."
"Grandpa, the sign says,

'Elephant'! What do you call it?"
"That's a little tidbit
he's never shared with me,
but I do know him to be
much more than his name."
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