The Kiss of the Rubber-Lipped Elephant

by Andrew H. Oerke

UNFOLDING HER VACUUM-CLEANER TRUNK the way a fern unfolds
when you fast-forward the video, she kisses me and
her slobbery faucet never runs out of spit that slimes
my face as the flexible hose-nose unwinds its rubbery trunk.
 
At least she didn’t blow her trumpet in my face. That would
have made my hair stand on end, my ears wobble to and fro,
and my head duck into my neck like a hunkering-down turtle.
Instead, she swamp-swipes me again. Then her trainer-pimp aims
her moisture at another victim, poor guy, but I feel
a puzzling pang of separation, probably what a pup
copes with the first time he's stranded alone in the back yard.
 
Her tree of a trunk's no match for her slip of a bell-rope
type of a tail, bedraggled old dangling root job you don’t
want to pull on or the result could be tremendous.
Outta the way, here comes the tuba's thunder. Seriously,
I’m still somewhat flabbergasted; my legbones are silly putty
as if this were the first time I'd ever been kissed.
 
Then she lumbers off, money-enriched, as if I didn't matter
at all, her haunches like mini-mountains rotating
her gray rumpled landscape with pink plastic bubblegum lips
and all forsaking me before I can think to scratch up a tip
from my pocket. I wonder what she’d look like in a sarong
doing the hula hula in a flowery skirt, Hawaiian style.
 
Ridiculous! Then I hear the gong in the temple, trembling,
and I move off with my life immeasurably enhanced by such
a hill of an animal who lives off its extravagance, and me
feeling more for all creatures, big, little, and extra-large in the extreme.

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