By CL Bledsoe

This morning they are tiptoeing elephants, listening
to the cats make love down by the water, as must I,
as must we all. I dreamed last night my foot detached itself,

flopped away from the mat (this is all they allow me
to sleep on. The plight I must endure! The outrage
none of you feel could feed all the orphans of China

for decades) and drowned itself in the toilet. I woke
feeling damply evil, toilet paper underneath my toenails.
I woke in India, nuzzled by elephants who’d come

to stab my eyes with their coffee breath, my arms, oh my arms.

They put their trunks under my tongue (imagine
the agony of uncured elephant leather). They fed me
oatmeal with cranberries in it, waited till I went BM,

and took it home to show their children. They patted my head,
became cliché, more than that, became film, melted
in the light, threw shadows of incineration

like an Iron Maiden concert I went to one time with a girl
who let me look down her shirt, and went
to commercial. I am waiting, saving my thoughts to feed

their little plastic cups. When they lumber back through
the cage door, I’ll light the cup, throw it in their faces, escape
and find her, out there where the music is bad and long. Now,

all I need is Prometheus to come, steal their coughs,
share them with me and burn, burn. There will be buzzards,
but that’s my liver’s concern, not mine.

*This poem is from my collection Leap Year.

Stuff My Stupid Heart Likes by CL Bledsoe (co-author of and The Wild Word:

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