JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He has a poetry collection, The Truth About Snails, available from RedDashboard and blogs about books at readingandlitresources.blogspot.com.
The wooly mammoth’s real name
was Andrew. He once aspired to
be a pro wrestler – a perfect fit,
his glaring eyes beneath a pocket
of fur, the tusks at either side of his
mouth, threatening silently. Images
of red spandex flash in his dreams.
But then the Human Starfish tried
a new trick with one of his tentacles,
and the Mammoth was down for the count,
broken leg and all. Just like that, an
immense being toppled over,
now living on the sustenance of daytime
television and boxes of candy.
Mother is always upstairs making him
a microwave dinner. There’s something
powerful about her he can’t put his finger
on. He spends his days in the basement
(the stairs are now much too rickety to
support his weight to go much of anywhere
else, anyway). Dad is who the hell knows
where these days. Resting in ice, maybe.
It is a wild life of breakfast
at noon. Every now and then, fear in her
voice, mother will ask: Randall, are you
going out today?
After correcting her about his name,
Mammoth insists that, no he will be
riding the couch again today. Mother
likes it this way, breathing a sigh
of contented relief.
Extinction is staved off yet another
listless while, and the channel surfing
fends off the call of battle.
I was flattened to a pancake
by all the worries of life –
I slide right by, lay low,
live the life from a narrow view
Turning sideways, you mostly
miss me. It’s okay.
Not a bad kind of life, really.
No one notices me, but then
that’s a lot of stories, isn’t it?
I used to be in control, a full plump
form until a witch cast a spell.
That old so-and-so story.
She was either a witch or an ex-guitarist
from an angry girl band.
Either way, the spell worked and now
I slide by, unnoticed, unscathed,
a slender witness to the fatted world.
See the writer now
in the otherwise placid
evening, a spark now and then,
Seizing on another verb,
attempting to shape it to a line
the elastic sound of a