Seven elephant calves
huddled in the wooden kraal.
Tears streamed gray trails through golden
dust collected on their leathery skin
as trunks snaked across trembling faces and bodies
seeking solace and familiarity.
On that inconceivable day,
two-leggeds pulled and prodded the seven
over long dusty roads, away
from the Zambezi river valley, away
from a vanishing parade of female Elders.
Who would teach them to be elephants?
A new moon darkened the savannah,
while fourteen ears heard murmurs of
a wind-garbled tale the Matriarch
trumpeted as she sketched reprisal
to a fervent battalion of Cows.
Arriving as barely discernible silhouettes,
the Ladies encircled the hut
where every man slept off
a late night’s whiskey.
At the Matriarch’s signal,
the Madams stomped until carcasses
merged soil and thatching grass
into one flattened mass.
Dulari the Eldest freed the seven calves
pulling boards from the walls of the kraal.
Trunk to tail to trunk to tail they fled
deep into Africa’s shadows
where sojourned in a sacred circle, Crons’ trunks
fingered every inch of the seven rescued ones
with coos and moans and rumbles
that rendered them home.
The prompt at We Write Poems this week ask that we revise an old piece. In November of 2009 I wrote a poem a day from a different word each day. The word for this piece was kraal. It is a corral for livestock in Africa.
My intention in revision was to give the reader a better for feel for the elephants. The original piece is here: kraal