Poem by Pamela Scobie

Anorexic

The elephant in the room
is growing smaller even as we sit here.
Her skin today is somewhere between grey and khaki,
and I am fairly certain that underneath the gorgeous shawl
soft hairs are growing along her spine.
The crashing of our cutlery
deafens. Our voices strain to rise above it,
hoarse with jollity.
We are discussing the elephant’s bright future.
She is only a baby elephant, though her smallness
threatens to buckle the walls and push the roof off,
but she is ready to go out into the bush.
We cannot chain her up.
We cannot tell her she is too puny to survive;
she possibly knows that already.
So we chatter and laugh and eat
as if we were not all aberrations of some sort.
But baby is tired; her eyelids droop.
She is dreaming of the apple waiting for her back at the house.
She has been holding out for it all day.
Daddy Elephant steps into the garden for a smoke,
while I help the others pack the car.
Something has been forgotten – I nip back,
and through the open kitchen door
I hear a terrible stampeding in the shrubbery.
Daddy Elephant trumpeting in anguish.

Anorexic by Pamela Scobie was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2018) judged by Mandy Pannett.

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