Elephant Water

Dan Veach


I’ve never seen an elephant so old.

Her face is freckled with age marks, pink and brown.

But there’s more to her than her wrinkled dignity:

When the little one carefully put his front knees

In the water, she ran up and butted him in.

Now, when she lifts her trunk from the pond

The little kids jump back and scream,


       She may have something more in mind

       Than drinking.

As for me, a Southern Baptist bred

I too was always taught to avoid a sprinkling.

“Full immersion or nothing!” they always said.

But the old beguiler gets around my doubts—

If only she would spout

That blessing that the children hope and fear

I’d throw myself into that shower.



Copyright 2012 by Daniel Veach

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Elephant Water

Cool and alive from the elephant’s trunk,

I think of a drop of it sitting on my palm.

We wait for that animal water, long and long....                     

Her trunk swings down.

She fooled us all.

 It was nothing... then,

 Too late, I see that a trick

 Has taken me in.

Long after the children leave

I’m still standing there

Immersed in the ponderous, graceful air

And a drop of elephant water.