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Anne Ward Jamieson - "Elephant Drops Dead in the Ring"


No stunt of his has ever awed a crowd

like this vast sudden mound he’s made

out of himself.
    Mommy, is he sleeping?

The pink dot of a woman pirouetting

on his head has toppled off like a sequin
cut loose from its thread.
    The problem of his body
lies inert where it fell, a sawdust blanket

sifting over him, absorbing his circus smell.
Our collective gasp
    rises like a stray balloon
clear up to the big top’s peak to settle
in fresh gloom. The children ride quietly

home. Read us a story, Mommy.

Goodnight stars. Goodnight air.
Goodnight noises everywhere.
Goodnight, Elephant. There there.

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