Today's poem is by Lucia Perillo

Inseminating the Elephant

The zoologists who came from Germany
wore bicycle helmets and protective rubber suits.
So as not to be soiled by substances
that alchemize to produce laughter in the human species;
how does that work biochemically is a question
whose answer I have not found yet. But these are men
whose language requires difficult conjugations under any circumstance:
first, there's the matter of the enema, which ought to come
as no surprise. Because what the news brings us
is often wheelbarrows of dung — suffering,
with photographs. And so long as there is suffering,
there should be also baby elephants — especially this messy,
headlamp-lit calling-forth. The problem lies
in deciding which side to side with: it is natural
to choose the giant rectal thermometer
over the twisted human form,
but is there something cowardly in that comic swerve?
Hurry an elephant
to carry the bundle of my pains,
another with shiny clamps and calipers
and the anodyne of laughter. So there, now I've alluded
to my body that grows ever more inert — better not overdo
lest you get scared; the sorrowing world
is way too big. How the zoologists start
is by facing the mirror of her flanks,
that foreboding luscious place where the gray hide
gives way to a zeroing-in of skin as vulnerable as an orchid.
Which is the place to enter, provided you are brave,
brave enough to insert your laser-guided camera
to avoid the two false openings of her "vestibule,"
much like the way of entering death, of giving birth to death,
calling it forth as described in the Tibetan Book.
And are you brave enough to side with laughter
if I face my purplish, raw reflection
and attempt the difficult entry of that chamber where
the seed-pearl of my farce and equally opalescent sorrow
lie waiting?

Copyright © 2009 Lucia Perillo All rights reserved
from Inseminating the Elephant
Copper Canyon Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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