My three-part poem, “A Memory of Elephants,” was published last night in The Quilliad, a small press publisher of Canadian writing and art based in Toronto. I will republish it here for your perusal, but for more information on purchasing the seventh issue of The Quilliad, click here.
A Memory of Elephants
My brain bulges fat and slow with voices
Huge as a memory of elephants stampeding.
That’s what they call them, a memory,
As if they don’t exist
Slow and slurred as the past-tense
Bulbous like my brain after Seroquel
Thick with noise and names, words, licking
Down my skin
To my fingertips.
Before breakfast I stretch
My wrinkled flesh and breast
Hiding tusks in large sweaters, I emerge
Stomping but not stampeding — I don’t have a memory to run
With, no saggy thumping brains to rub against.
I have me and pen and paper
Voices, ivory-sharp, cutting cords within my mind
I have this head and silence and air
Tuned to the absence of beasts running behind.
I am an elephant skeleton
A brain rots in my skull
My skin, rubbery leather, has long
Since dismembered, lost its nerves and shivers
My bones fell
On the distant side of the valley, ransacked and ravaged
Tusks plucked like flowers from my face
Swooping in the curve of a wing — angel bones
Pointing upwards and flying
To a space
Where the fat sack of my mind
Doesn’t lie buried
In a separated skeleton.
She twists her trunk into me, my mind,
With her words sets the kaleidoscope
In motion. The stars, the explosion of a universe
Unwinds in her eye. She is God
With grey skin and breasts, old,
And tongue-tied. I hear thundering in the sky
— footsteps. A herd stampeding
Up and over mountains. I chase,
Bellowing and shaking off my ears.
She runs limbless ahead
Into the dark. I follow her lead;
I pull out of my skull and recede.