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This poem is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

The Inwardness of Elephants Mimi Khalvati


for Aamer Hussein

The Wishing Tree

Where do those poems go, the ones
we wake from, take back to sleep and oblivion?
In what book have they been written?

How deep and dark the book, how full,
how cavernous - a book of all the ages,
grey fish crossing the open page.

It's Christmas Day. I've been given
a wishing tree. Wishes hang from its branches
like silver fish, wishing me stardust and linen

robes, golden moons and skylarks, bright
coloured sandals and tinkling sounds like Ariel's:
it's a poem, a red heart beating in a well.

Three elephants walk the rim and chocolate coins
I will never eat ring the earthenware. I'm caught
between the two - between air and water,
...


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