A Memory of Elephants

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

1. Life

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.


2. Death

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.


3. Rebirth

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.


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