Sunday Elephant



Across the watering hole from us humans,
African elephant scoops hay with relaxed trunk,
sweeping the ground near feet, no need to look,
letting sweet aromas guide the nonchalant motion.

More purposed coiling up to the mouth,
right back down to continue the forage.
Tail sweeps sideways in a slower rhythm,
not to chase flies – dog-like pleasure?

One tree trunk of a leg cocked at a slant,
like a street corner dude posed to impress,
two curved tusks intact, surely not worried,
safe from poachers in the North Carolina Zoo.

No concern for machine guns
and chainsaws, or ivory trinkets,
just natural calm on a grand scale
and surprising cockiness on display.


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.