poached elephant

…and here’s a dead elephant poached in a field of dreams
now an armature of bone lying in dry grass its arc of vertebrae exposed
its gray skin a circus tent canvas sliding off
its ivoryless skull of no remembrance
but while she lived this matriarch kept a map of turf
spread in brilliant tissue in her skull
and led her friends and kin to better places

remembering as elephants must where to find drink
and where to bathe under the spray of an articulating nose
and where to lie luxurious in mud, and how to excite the air for miles
with invisible amplitudes calling, warning, defying the ears of mammoth

who prowl the earth with guns, merciless predators, looking to score
any source of wealth to keep themselves in breath and blood long enough
to spread their contaminating ignorance
generously across the globe

Jim Culleny