Saturday, 6 June 2020

'Losing the Elephant' by David Henson

For years my wife and I hid the last living elephant on earth in our home. We stole her from a traveling circus when she was smaller than a Volkswagen. Once fully grown she could flatten a wall with a careless hip, send us reeling with the flap of an ear. But we knew she was really a giant soap bubble and the world a sharp pin.

We trusted no one and taught her the same. We painted a keyboard and candelabra on her side, trained her to stand motionless when the door belled. It was tricky when friends wanted an old-fashioned singalong or relatives stayed the night. But we managed to defy the odds. Till Fate tired of our poaching.

Many new moon nights we’d unhouse her to scratch against the backyard oak. The one time we trusted clouds, a full moon banged into the clear. It looked like the barrel of a firing gun. They came for her before dawn.

Our hearts felt her whole bulk when she balked at the ramp, her upraised trunk spewing out stars that will mark, forever, her passing.

'Losing the Elephant' first appeared in Riggwelter on 23 in July 2019

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