Honest Elephants

Janet Buck

I had a date with diaries
I didn't keep for forty years.
Tears wore suits and stunning ties
of stoic garments well-rehearsed.
I can't explain the shock of knowing
they were dressed for eyes approaching,
gainfully employed by courage,
immigrants and emigrants
just searching for a place to sleep.

Crying towels were there to smoke
but pages had to dry them out.
The weight of silent avalanches
growing in the gaps of pride.
Snakes of disability that
bounce around like basketballs.
Behave a little bitter still as
cramps that grab a garden hose.

The undertaker here was art.
He dug a crater for the shame.
The answer net was just release
of currents of an inner voice.
Cross a bridge. You have a river.
Coax a bud. You have a rose.
The elephants of honest walked
because they didn't have a choice.


The 2River View, 3_1 (Fall 1998)