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.