Wondrous Cauldrons

Elephant-tracksWondrous cauldrons
boil the tusks
inside the indigo night
the rattling bones, the jungle heat
the stench of gunsmoke
and rancid meat

The matriarch waits
in the shadows for
the witchdoctor to
conjure her daughters
her sons, her sisters
from the roiling waters

A Chinaman squats by the fire
carving an ivory Buddha,
nearby sits the Wall Street wife
the neighborhood thugs
bush pilots and arms dealers;
a small black girl has a secret

An elephant never forgets
the poacher’s face
nor the tiny voice
who told the baboons in whispers
to pour sugar in the gas tanks
drop dead rats in the wells

Soon this orphan will join the others;
they will ride upon the high shoulders
of three million childless mothers;
the ivory will bleed rivers
into the streets of Hong Kong–
the watering hole of hungry ghosts

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