Poems

the elephant

at the time of her death johanna was one year
and eight months old she was found in the pool
holding onto an elephant her mother
still holds today closely even though the alzheimer’s
prevents her from remembering why she the mother
did not jump into the pool when she first saw johanna
drifting on the light northern rhineland wind
floating on the pool that johanna’s father
forgot to cover as he played tennis
with his friends maybe as rich or more so
than themselves johanna’s mother today
doesn’t remember much like i said
because of the alzheimer’s she did however remember
to keep the elephant only she forgot
to remove the wet dress they said she spent
days like that looking ‘like a greek statue’
what no one noticed was that she held onto
the tiny elephant in 1958 when i died 50 years
later i was twenty-five years and six months old and i held onto
the first verse of a sylvia plath poem and resisted
fiercely with my eyes closed as the whole world
dropped dead even though i knew that the rest of the
poem is a declaration of love completely idiotic
as all declarations of heterosexual love are
so many things plath wrote i recited
the poem as i drowned forgive me plath forgive me
campilho the world is a horror the elephant is made of plush
and small bones are not made of honey
they are just calcium
nothing else.

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