The Soliloquy of Ginny, Dominant Elephant at the Providence Zoo

Author’s note: “The Soliloquy of Ginny” was written after visiting the Providence Zoo and seeing three female elephants who were rescued and brought out of Africa together after poachers killed many of their relatives. One of them rocked continually, in a way that reminded me of similar behavior by traumatized children. The experience made we wonder whether elephants perhaps have thoughts whose content is similar to ours, but whose grammar is different, and which of course cannot be expressed in speech. Thinking about animal consciousness also seems important in light of the recent UN report that a million plant and animal species are nearing extinction, with potentially severe ramifications for humanity.

(Transmitted Telepathically to the Spectators at her Bath)

here winterdark she brights it
berryred melonpeach grape
trunkbrush sweepsplash
seeglass look

everrocks                    everrocks
mother                         poacher
fathervoice                  silentnow
rumbleheld                  babygirl          free

you you you you you you you
painflash laughspark angry crysmile
young young young young young

no milkbreast we

washers                       warm
willgood                   canweak

by moon
sleep undream
cinderstraw                 emptysmell
moon and moon and moon

breathelight morning
remember grass
remember sun
remember river forest plain
some still roam

see their eyes clear
hear them trumpet
feel the earth shake as they move
joying evermoon

you you you you you

Kimberly Gladman Jackson is the author of Materfamilias (Tandeta Books, 2018) and Tesseract (Finishing Line Press, 2016).
You can connect with her on her website.

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