Wisdom of the Elephants


There’s more to our bones

than curved hunting ivory.

At two years old we lose

our first four teeth,

then gain five more spade sets,

each set stronger and more elaborate.


On the savannah we grind rough bark,

roots, leaves and young grass.

Each year a brick-sized molar

retires, and a new one

fills in from the back.

But when the last gives,


That’s it. We’ll turn,

follow the wisdom of the wind –

with the strange thoughts

solitary dreamers may have –

and remember, with fondness:


each river, each plain,

each star, before reaching

down to the brown water’s edge

with a silent, almost

moist-eyed reckoning.


Jennifer Wong