Rat,

The elephant matron kneels down as if she will soon be anointed by the god of her tribe, her legs bending like unwilling trunks of dry and brittle African trees. Her ears sag wrinkled like the aging queens who have pierced such drooping skin and worn for years their heavy jewels to cut off the heads of their courtiers. The hot wind of the brazen grassland blows stiff, carrying scents she no longer recognizes, and her eyes weep and shift down in consent at last for what comes for her. The elephant matron kneels down, and in a low and animal silence, she dies. Her daughters watch always the horizon, for they must keep so much of the world at bay.

In the villages, the women and men alike will weep, will beat their chests, will hit their fists into the ground to mourn the loss of her, because she is the long memory of their people now gone. They have all loved her, have named her, have set the weather by her moods and her tempers, and as she has blessed their children, so they have blessed her own. When the elephant matron dies in her animal silence, a cry falls over the lands of the people, because their children will no longer remember from where they have come.

Strange to me how the vampire would have been made up with a bat’s makeup, memorializing what we do and not the things we do it for. Bats, because we suck blood, and not the elephant, because we cannot let ourselves forget.

In the graves of our forefathers, we wander among the cathedrals of their bones and pray for rain.

The rain comes in blood, and the hot and mucky soup of lives being lived, strangers are washed into town with extra monies in their fists for the lowly. The day is carbon and stolen away from all goodness until the mighty thump of the thing framed in ivory come slowly down the lane. What has been living in the dark there at your tired, prayerless bedside unseen ‘till the lightning is flashed once again; the glorious paladin protector of the ever engorged heart of the world.

I, me, raising my battered, mulling crown to the ceilings of consequence. I still bow my eyes at the return of her. Of me to my old skin, tough and gray as pirate sails down a whirlpool. The light is blacked by the mass, the sound of the rain changes, the ability to wear our masks slips away, is melted away by the grace and the enormity of her genuineness. I am frozen and I become the elephant then, as you will. As we all. Served the supper from a saint’s palm. The ghosts filing along outside of the windows of all libraries stop to know the name of them: Loxodonta.

Matthew, my darling. Never tell a soul what you are truly made of, for if they do not still to the power of it, they deserve nothing of the word. They know not what is kept by us nor what is long for a tooth or a day.

All my love,

Nicholas

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