Richard Merelman ~ Road Scholars In Botswana

As we finish our brunch, the elephants at the near edge of the veldt
bounce
up and down in a conga line. Their trunks circle in synchrony; their feet pound

the ground with a sound like a thousand bass-baritones. Soon the boat
picks
us up. But the rhythmic thumping sloshes Chobe River water over

the gunwales. The vessel tilts. An exec hits the deck. Most of us
thrill;
would your average tourist ever be clever enough to join a group

which observes these massive mammals kick their legs like Rockettes,
pummel
the earth with their densely spongy soles? Funny, the brochure

implied such an event might occur. In the captain’s cabin, we
debate
whether we’re morally obliged to forward our photos and videos

to the authorities. Or can we find an ecologically respectful way to
exploit
this extraordinary sight? One faction—mainly teachers—considers

the implications for species survival. Another, with careers in finance,
favors
peddling the snaps on line, with false names of the place and ourselves.

After returning to Scarsdale, Pelham, and The Hamptons, we
ponder
how Road Scholar surmised the first recorded elephant dance in the wild.

 

Richard Merelman published a first volume of poetry, The Imaginary Baritone (Fireweed Press, 2012) and has a chapbook from Fireweed, The Unnamed Continent, in the works. Merelman has published poems in Main Street Rag, Stoneboat, Blue Unicorn, Measure, Verse Wisconsin, Loch Raven Review, Common Ground, and DM, with further work forthcoming in Blue Unicorn, and another in an anthology–District Lines–which contains writings about Washington, D.C..

Botswana

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