Monsieur Éléphant remembers . . .
Oh là là how French you are! Parlez-vous anglais?
Red socks dance just so, toe fit and foot lift,
bob and weave, another King Ali
floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.
Don’t mind me, I’ll sing your praises
to the grave. Dart and leap——
between the dragonfly and the stinging flee
it’s very hard to read.
Oh Monsieur Serpent, such sweet face you show——
I lean closer, eyes closed; listen to you sway and charm
your reptile toes with your serpent-charming tone.
But below, the desert shifts——a broken line slithers
a mandala across the sand the wind sweeps clean.
Second by second grains fall through the sieve,
tower and decline. You watch from the shadows,
wait to strike; brought to life by the slow passage of the sun.
Rain slides by, water off a serpent’s . . .
Monsieur Canard smiles a quack.
I keep la société française close to my heart,
where you reside; hold dear a little jig and bop,
a smile creased across your face, a page.
Oh Monsieur Léopard, what soft fur you have——
I would lean over and stroke your flank.
Oh Monsieur Girafe, what a long neck you have——
I would lean over and plant a kiss.
The tall man is your friend, and so am I . . .