My Brother’s Menagerie

— Safia Jama

Little elephants behind the trees
don’t want to be found

A few still live in the forest

The only way to find them
is to befriend (or pay) a local

I pay a therapist each week

The days I break
she gives me sea glass,
bits of coral

I keep a menagerie
of beasts my brother set free
then set upon me

He kept a tin of cookies
under the bed

I went to him
I needed
his daily feedings

Today all the empty cages
in my head wait
for the wildest memory

Animals may hurt
each other in captivity—

but a baby elephant
left alone
will surely die

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