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The Elephant Whose Sturgeon-like Blood

The elephant whose sturgeon-like blood
insists it was or ought to be aquatic,
whose ears, like hairy crackle-glazed chopping boards,
are cheerfully agreeing to be fans,
fingers his marulas with a trunk
strong enough to paralyze a tiger,
a trunk that's been wired up with special nerves
found nowhere else except the clitoris,
a trunk whose full-time job is being free
with the slightly anarchic freedom of uncertainty;
that spends its life seeing what it's like
to live as both an arm and a nose,

a trunk that never stops embracing homelessness
even while it's guiding the elephant
past the sandy smells of sons and daughters
that smell of banks of pinks and carnations
and in and out of sand-dunes and ant-hills
glittering with dew and small beetles
and down towards the water where the crocodiles
(that think they are unworthy, like Judas,
of being, of deserving to be, good)
are not as fast asleep as we think they are,
a trunk whose every nerve aspires to homelessness
even while it leads him safely home.

Selima Hill

Poetry London

Autumn 2011

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