Touching an Elephant
At the theme park we are allowed to touch an elephant. He looms up
quietly, with a keeper, trunk down.
My palm feels his rough, impassive side.
From an expanse of gray, an eye,
lash fringed, liquid, mild, regards me.
I tell him he is beautiful. He does not blink.
A profound stillness of noncommunication,
of his private elephant thoughts, is edged
with the distant cries of peacocks and children.
I become aware, for all his mass,
he is my little brother. I do not stretch up,
lift his ear frond, whisper that to him.
He would not believe it. He curls his trunk,
thicker than my leg, to lip in a stalk of hay.