Little macrozoa*

by kvennarad

I love – how strange for me to start a poem like that – macrozoa,

those hostages to gravity, those generants of levity, possessed,

though the mockers would not have it so, of the greatest dignity,

belied by our obsession with whether their forward-faced elbows

are the three and four of knees, the ace of individuality, singular

to them, oh how we wrangle about do they walk on their fingers

or is any limb of ground-propulsion ipso facto a leg, its terminant

a foot; can we not grant peace, for once? They’re pachydermata,

but – hell! – does that mean they’re all totally thick-skinned?

Think, for once, and respect all the bygone woolly mammoths,

the mastodons, and, more modern, those parlayed into our ivory,

and know that even as they are big each one was once so little.

Each patient elephant – I once saw one waltz – was an erst idea

conceived between (what we call) its bull and its cow, gestated,

birthed, and cared for by a herd of aunts and uncles, a caritas

despite the harsh hair of its back, ranging in the pull and pluck

of each moment, whole, irrevocable, blissful, blessed elephant,

the joy of its being young untouched by our anthropomorphism,

though we bestow the word “baby” in our careless sentiment;

I could, if I wanted to – and I once had the notion – make them

into my heraldic achievement, or situate them in a frieze, there,

just below that cornice that coves my bedroom walls, cozy them

to my sleep-pattern, but that appropriation would be a big diss;

I’d rather celebrate them, their simple littleness that’ll one day

grow to Mughal grandeur, never haul a howdah, be left alone

without a mahout to goad them, Ganeshas, little god Ganeshas,

divine offspring, diminutive, our heavenly Lord/Lady, becoming

– what? – whatever the road from bush to the river will make,

whether the flow be the Ganges or Limpopo, there they learn

the art of jetting with their proboscis, while our own juveniles

point with excited indices and cry in joy, “Tembo! O Tembo!”



* I promised someone a poem about baby elephants.

thelephant©Marie Marshall