Poacher’s Grip

our jeep tracks on the savanna
under shimmering GPS satellites
my hands on these tusks
your DNA on this currency
we see the world like ivory
we see ivory

a tusk, a carving
a little dragon made of ivory
rare, valuable, and like a child
I’ve been told not to touch
as the money march of days, the trades
the deals gone sideways, the dancing
obscene jig of shifting market values
stampede through the grass huts
of all my efforts, my wrongdoings
the dream chasers, now the prey
my own teeth thought valuable
apart from my mouth
like a smile, apart from my face
on each side of my trunk, reaching
down and then up
from below my seeing eyes
to above

the border has fallen
defend us at the tree line
the village has fallen
defend us at our cottages
the perimeter is breached
defend us at the closet door
the door is opened
defend us at our honor

with our cache of ivory
and the betrayal of our
childish love of elephants