You return again and again to the bones of your ancestors.
Smooth as silk and bleached by the sun
you caress the softness of them
and can feel the place where healing took place after a bad break.
Kneeling, body sinking heavy into hot sand
you gently lift each femur and rib-bone
nuzzle each knuckle and toe.
You need answers.
Your people are dying.
Murdered and hunted,
thirsty and ravaged
you cover miles of terrain each day, exhausted
but still cannot sleep at night.
There is an ache in your chest
that will not go away
even when you breath deeply
or splash cool water over your arching back.
The old stories don’t hold true anymore,
the old songlines are broken, like so many tattered maps blowing in the wind.
You lay with your family under the full moon and
remember the days when the water was sweet
and your belly was round with child
and how the food practically dripped from the trees.
You look up at the stars and wonder how it got to be this way,
And so you return again and again to the bones of your ancestors
looking for answers in the curve of a vertebrae
or the jagged edge of a
sawed off tusk.
Elephants, keepers of the ancient memories. What can I say? What explanation can I give? That my people are touched by madness? That we are intoxicated with power and drunk on destruction? That we will not settle until this planet is dead and we choke on our own boiling rage?
I don’t have any answers. If I could I would sit at your feet and listen. I would travel many miles upon your broad backs to the place where the river meets the sea and play in the water with your young ones.
But I’m here. In my small house next to my own small, sleeping child.
My people are young compared to yours
We have so much to learn from you,
but I’m afraid it may already be too late.
Your numbers are dwindling,
your grief must be very great and difficult to carry.
I want you to know mine is too.
I wish there was more I could do.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Thank you for listening,