I remember elephants trumpeting from a freight
& echoes ricocheting off the small town’s vinyl
siding & warehouse walls. Never such a blaring

before in the dusty factory town. The sounds, eerie
& regal, drifted inside my muscles.  They stayed happily
stuck like residue of tree

sap. That final sweetness of darkened
syrup settled at the bottom
of a canning jar. That heralding! A puzzle

never solved & even when
we moved north to the Second City
I heard it, a summoning. Follow

me, the elephant brayed. I reverberate
from borders, from underneath
ruffles. Where wheat becomes  ocean, where ocean


10th grade English was boring. Mr. Blankenship’s
second period class kept getting worse. We taunted

him & he was turning — sometimes mean,
sometimes desperate. Whoever recommended

you for AP English was wrong, he jabbed.
Expecting another failure he rolled

out an animal unit with a creature
specific reading list. Books

about otters, gorillas, wolves
& whales. That’s when I heard

the stirring again; it popped up,
a jack-in-box sound from

within. I can’t say what
happened exactly. My world began

to sing again of elephants. This time
their call was direct

beckoning, elephant-to-human
telepathy.  They had been singing

to me all along. Bring 
yourself to my gray

rumbling. Dear
Matriarch, in the school

room I heard you. At the train
tracks you staked your claim.