Jennifer Perrine This Page from My Pillow Book, This Page from My Bestiary
Mostly, I am elephant: thick-skinned, ponderous kiss
of flesh to dust. One ground my bones into a philter
for his own hard tusk. One taught me this pachyderm dance:
how to flaunt my sequined darlings, let them ride, limbs bare
as shafts of light. Mostly, they’ve said it’s my choice: burlap
scratch of the poacher’s bag, wash of light and cheers and whip.
Then, too, there’s this: how I’ve been known to shapeshift, to stretch
these murky, membranous wings. One I lured to the mouth
of a cave to bathe in exodus: that flight that drenched
with its stream of screeching bodies. One I taught to writhe
at the sight of my face, its tangle of teeth. I track
them now with my voice: how it touches skin and bends back.