By John Grey
The elephant enclosure
is dotted with heaps of hay.
Three giant gray thirty-somethings
jolt each other softly,
as trunkfuls of feed
are packed into open mouths.
A crowd gathers behind a fence,
watches these gentle behemoths
fills their massive bodies.
A sign nailed to a post
gives Latin name,
location in the wild,
color-codes Loxodonta Africana
Herds and habitat are shrinking.
There’s so little that can live
on such a grand scale.
Shorter days panic
the apples into ripening.
Those that don’t fall
are plucked, fill buckets,
are trafficked from orchard
to ramshackle road-side shack
where scrawled sign and cheap scales
make for a fleeting Autumn store.
Bright red Washingtons are traded
for crisp green Washingtons.
A plush, juicy Granny Smith
is sold to a bent, age-smudged Granny Smith.
A gray-haired woman holds court
from her ancient lawn-chair,
while noisy children chase dogs
in and out of her legs.
A guy in a Buick drives up,
checks through a bushel so fresh,
the smell of the tree is still on their skin.
He scowls at the spots, the bruises.
The first law of apples is that
the scruffier the look, the tastier the fruit.
The red-cheeked woman in rumpled dress,
is the law-giver.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.
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