Elephants

 

We have forgotten

that once you were gods:

 

slate-skinned, sun-flecked,

stained bronze with soil,

 

creased like rivulets

centuries dried up,

once fulsome,

 

cousins to those floating ones

who siren-sing to sailors

or leave fairy trails in sea grass.

 

Yes, we have forgotten

that you were gods

 

dragging legs behind you

rendered null by bombs

and wayward logs,

 

hips dislocated by sedans

for those never worthy

to sit on your back.

 

Yet this is how we treat those

we profess, and profess to love.

 

We break their bodies

by wood, metal and thorn

 

and their spirits in ceremonies

or by abandonment

in dusty heart-chambers.

 

All I can do – all we have done

and shall do evermore –

 

is  press my offering

of mashed banana-rice ball

into your preferred trunk

 

and whisper plea for forgiveness

for all of us to your great eye

that wells salt

 

that shall wash away all

like this rushing river.

 

 

 

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