Lesley Jenike

Elephant Presenting a Flower to a Bird


Human kindness: a flagstone flogged by wind
and yet continuing: a flagstone flogged
by wind and yet—the rain’s relief. I smell

with great facility the rain before
it comes. I bend my pendulous ears down
to hear the wind play a hand,

crouched at the flagstone as a child I
called altar, killing kindness
with a kitchen knife.

To go back to that time and that place
would be to perfect sorrow in secret
knitted to my long, long face. It would be

as if an elephant presented
a flower to the bird that never relented.