The world with its cause and effect is repeating
itself like a large cat measuring the hours
of its cage. The watermelons are back. The elephants
use them as bowling balls on their way to the zoo.
Their tails burn my fingers like cheap string.
Trees crash behind them, then sink and blow away.
Their tusks have the bitter taste of a pale aphrodisiac.
Their ears fill my eyes like great white sails
that wander the desert as they follow the smell of mud
from last winter’s rain. One day they will bury me
then whisper with their feet. Babe Ruth never knew
he’d end up as a candy bar in Cincinnati,
and an elephant’s tail doesn’t really burn my fingers.
Actually, I’ve never touched one, but other people have.
They’ve filled up boxes with blue parrots and taught
them how to speak. “Oooh la, la. Is this the Madam?”
Parrots like to talk dirty because it makes us laugh.
“Voulez-vous coueher avec moi, ce soir?”
I lie down next to the panther and stroke his soft
night ears. “Shana klana kepala. Go shluffy now.”
Tomorrow we will walk through the smoking city
where the buildings rustle and break like leaves.
We have no pockets to put our change, so we will walk
all the way to Africa. “Voulez-vous coucher
avec moi, ce soir?” Even as the continent swallows
itself into a tight little ball. Even as the path
grows old and the elephants sweep it
underground with their long, trembling trunks.