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Gloria is careful with her questions.

She doesn’t want to ask why.

She doesn’t want to ask questions

She herself won’t answer.

I listen to how each person at the table

Explain how they arrived at the table.

The woman with the elephant necklace

Was in control of her emotions.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked and shivered.

“Because others think death is too late

To tell a story that matters.”

“But why are you doing this?

For strangers?”


She fingered her necklace.

“We, were strangers in the desert.”


“My people.”

Somehow I notice for the first time

The darker brush across her eyelids

The deeper brown of her hair.



Somehow I notice for the first time

The blush of red across her cheeks

The glint of silver in her ears.

“Too young. Once a mother. Beaten.”

Somewhere behind me someone is crying.

“I’m here to register.”

Bickering pops to my left.

“Asylum. Too late. Couldn’t find legal help.”

The woman with the elephant necklace had been talking to herself.

“Fifty years ago,

It could have been me.”

I sit on the front step,

Lean back against the stones of the building,

Look up.

I stretch the up into out.

Bathrooms are watering holes.

Hallways are trails.

Related elephant females stay together for life.

Related elephant families share resources,

Avoid danger,

Care for young.

Everything is black and white.

Nothing is brown.

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