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Back to the Wild

Let us talk about the elephant in the room.
You don’t see it? Oh, it’s there.
Probably dressed like Babar – a proper suit, shoes with spats, a bowler hat.

Elephants in the room are all about propriety.
Never let others know if something about you or your family is imperfect, untidy, failing.
The elephant takes tea, sits at the dinner table, drinks all the wine, whiskey, beer.
Oh, does its head hurt! Where are the drugs? Must have some of those.
Greedily consuming the family’s stocks, the elephant grows and grows – until you confront it. Loudly, openly, directly. The whole family, or as many as you can muster. In a full-throated chorus of “No More!”
Some say the elephant (or perhaps a parade balloon of an elephant?) then explodes, like the Hindenberg.
Burning to ashes a project that has held a family together – however shabbily.

Can healthy lives grow from decimated ruins? Doubtful.
Who can live with unyielding light on all one’s doings? Wouldn’t a few, unacknowledged guinea pigs in the room – nibbling lettuce here and there – bring some welcome shade, without overwhelming open, free air?
Or do old habits die so hard, that a family again welcomes a new elephant, keen to replace the old?
If only there were a magical Elephant Clean Up and Removal service.

In my family, we had a chain holding in an our indoor elephant. The most battered link – that between my parents – broke with a recoil that smacked us all..
Sibling bonds and those between parent and child remained, although creaky, rusted, and distant at times.
The family circle became a horseshoe, and our family’s elephantine secret wandered away.
Some blood, anxiety, self-loathing – mostly a freezing caution about life – memoralize its reign.

Know that I rejoice in the long, happy lives of all elephants. In the wild.

For April 11, write a poem about something large.

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