Elephant Song

On evenings filled with rain the elephants
believe my open door leads to a green stretch
of forest and trundle through.

Each concocts a song or howl of her own—
a moan of bassoon, a pitch of piccolos
and even agonies of strings to tell of elephant

tragedies coated in silt. The mind is a traitor
giving away our tales
when we are half awake,

the elephants to fall in love with then
and follow into the music, loud
in the meadow, softer in the shade of trees.

Only their ears detect the mourning notes
delivered by miles of unsuspecting
stone. Through her skinny bird feet, Honeyguide,

bereft, never gleans
more than sugar, and monkeys
still pick and chatter and elephants move

to safety, colors same as vapor, same as wood,
same as sky. They stand plain, enormous,
hidden. Drift closer to hear nightsong, closer

to dream the prancing dog—wise
as Buddha, closer to meet elephants
in a dripping melodic forest.