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Save the Elephants-Thanksgiving excerpt

The vet invites me to Thanksgiving.

I choose to work at the animal shelter.

“I’ll stop by later with some turkey,” she offers.

“I’m sure the animals would like that.”

I text on Gloria’s phone.

The vet arrives.

She walks several of the dogs.

“I wish I could adopt them,

Do more,” I say.

She drops her head.

I hold out turkey to Indigo.

I pull on my Real Madrid sweatshirt.

The hood settles over my ears.

“I know,” the vet replies.

She takes a leash.

She hands me a new pair of earbuds

For Gloria’s phone.

Mine had been stolen.

“For the language app during your walks.

I wish I could do more.”

“I know,” I reply.

The vet scratches Indigo.

She folds a foster application

From the display

Into her pocket.

Black Friday

Two more words

That once together

Don’t make sense

Two words

Like illegal immigration

I babysit Sasha.

Her parents stand in line

In the dark.

For a deal

On a shiny flat screen.

“What’s your favorite animal, Sasha?”

“Hmmm. Horses.”

All girls in the United States love horses.

“What about you, Glendy?”


“Then why do you save dogs and cats?”

“I live closest to the dogs and cats.

Doesn’t it make more sense to help

The living creatures closest to us.”

“I didn’t know dogs and cats spoke Spanish.

What do elephants speak?”

“They have their own language

With sounds we can’t hear.”

“Like the sounds in English you can’t?”

I cringe, step back

As if pushed,

As if I had stepped ahead

Of where I was supposed to be in line.

“You should watch Dumbo.”

Sasha watches her old DVD

On her old TV

On more time.

That night I start awake

Sure I felt an earthquake,

But in this place

There are no earthquakes.


My breath quickens.

Mamá sends another vibration

Like all great elephant matriarchs.

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