I left him living with my Mum and Dad.

I liked to think of him squashed on my bed

beside the piano; chewing liquorice

allsorts; finding the white china ponies,

in my trunk, with his; listening to swifts

build their nests in the eaves.

The authorities then put a stop to it.

Elephants are always denied access

to homes in the countryside, they wrote.

But he’s always lived there, I protested.

He’s no danger to flora, fauna or strangers.

My pleas were rejected.

He moved out, seduced by a witch.

Mum whispered, He’s gone: a crack in her voice.

It took time but I did track them down,

to a brand-new apartment in town: silent

and stinking of cabbage. He was shivering;

wrapped in her shawl, in the gloom of a room

at the top of a high-rise.

The curtains stayed closed up all day.

(She’d not have him see the lines on her face,

the grey in her hair or that wart on her chin!)

I had to sneak him away.

Squeezing him into the lift was a struggle.

I bought him a phone and a home over­-

looking the sea! Now we speak every day

He says he’s Okay.



When I visit, he unbolts the door

with the tip of his tusk. We stroll down to

the sun-drenched shore: past the jelly-bean huts

to the breakwater.

Curling up against the heat-wave,

he flaps his great ears to cool me,

and sprays water, like soda, all over

my head, feet and hands.

We sift our memories together, like sand. 

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