Today's poem is by Emily Rosko


Nickel-gray or computer
    consoled, not white or
        a failure as one might think
    when it appears on the return
mailing address label sent

    by the African Wildlife
        Foundation, which urges, “Spread
    the word about the peril.”
(Dense plantings of shrubbery
    provide safe areas.) Too

        large an idol to hide from
    the rest, it takes residence
in one’s brain as the serene
    center aimed for in classical
        Hindu meditation. Several lifetimes

    are required to untangle
the self. Said to inhabit
    certain remarkable capacities
        (such as insensitivity to heat
    or cold, and though ears are key

to ventilation, passage
    through the Pyrenees
        is not an option) it walks
    noiselessly despite bulk. A dutiful
mourner with its own funeral

    march, herds fifteen to thirty
        can’t bring back the mammoth,
    though several in Siberia were
found wholly preserved
    in ice. The fashion now is

        to save, use the ground
    tusk powder only in dire
situations. Ticks, as the red-billed
    oxpecker suggests, can
        bring down a good dog

    though not when the bird is perched
on the elephant’s high back. Just as,
    to boost a career,
        having one sit on one’s
    desk is good luck.

Copyright © 2004 Emily Rosko All rights reserved
from The National Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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