Christy Wise

Dust swirled around his legs, trunk, eyes,

not dust from the desert, but dust churned up 

by truck tires, horse carts, camel hooves, 

tuck-tuck wheels, bicycles, people’s feet. 


His pace did not vary. Others watched out

for him. Today’s load was light: one man

with bundles of textiles, headed to market. 


He closed his eyes at the traffic light, 

shielding them from insidious dust, 

heat, glare, and from flies that swarmed 

around his face when he stopped moving.


Parched skin, tired bones ached   

for the river, longed to feel coolness 

whirling around his haunches, spray 

cascading over his dusty back. 


But this was Monday morning, 

in the heart of Jaipur, with a full 

week ahead. Not that the elephant 

counts days or even knows 

what they are. 


Yet, he senses that the river is far away. 

Christy Wise is a poet, author, essayist and education equity activist. She is a student at Sierra Nevada’s low-residency MFA program where she was awarded the Exceptional Manuscript scholarship. Her poems have appeared in Evening Street Press, Anthem, The Raven’s Perch and NEBO Literary Journal. Wise divides her time between California and Washington DC.

©2018 HighShelfPress. 

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