Tusks Among the Ferns

The good old days are clearly defined
as the years before being left behind
but the so-so now is a little hazy
as a shadow crosses the moon
a mist hovers over the twisting stream
wisps of smoke rise from the small fire
offering minimal light and heat
in a high country where the searcher
seeks the way to the mythical valley
of the ivory where elephants and other
creatures sensing their demise migrate
to pass the finishing days

The man with the monkey
pointed the way, but the bearers
turned back at the skulls on stakes
and a couple were felled by
poisonous darts so the lone searcher
waits in the small circle of light
there are scuffling feet in the darkness
the occasional call of unseen birds
and what he doesn’t know may
or may not hurt him.

How much longer the journey may be
is impossible to say, with turning back
as dangerous as pressing on, so he waits
certain of an eventual dawn with hope
to be more than another beached whale
another pair of tusks among the ferns
time may tell or history may judge
or he may be another comet unnoticed
hurtling into the void
toward an unknown destiny


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