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Trevor Kearns

Wendy BarnesAn Air Force brat, Trevor Conan Kearns has lived on four continents, swum in two oceans and a handful of seas, hiked scads of mountains, and met a number of largely well-mannered bears. He holds a B.A. in English and Japanese from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and an M.F.A. from Cornell University. His teaching interests include poetry and poetics, environmental literature, ecocriticism, film, and science fiction. He lives with his wife Robin and son Cirdan, along with sundry companion species, in Wendell.

Legend of the White Elephant

Trevor Kearns

I dreamt he came walking slow
across a road of water wide as night.
Where he stepped, conscious flowers grew
and began speaking to one another,
debating meaning and meaning's forms.
He was neither large nor small.

The name of every color
was written on his face.
He came before me and swayed,
his eyes a diamond-hooded flame.
His trunk searched me and slid
into my right side. When it withdrew
a perfect lotus nestled in its curve, luminous nut
in its tender shell. Suddenly it was day, bright
fruit trees reached up high around us,
obscuring the earth, then the sky.

Next morning I went into labor.
Clutching a tree branch in the garden,
I delivered. My son was blessed
by ten thousand thousand celestials,
their glowing fingers tracing his features
like feather-shafts of dawn.
Beyond the crowd I spotted him,
neither large nor small, moving a little
and staring at us, then moving back,
restless. I called him up.

As he approached, I saw him squint
in the storm of divinity, his eyes
unrecovered coal. He trembled,
and I gestured, naked with my son.
The trunk scratched over us,
rough as gravel, fumbling here
and there. I had to move it off
my son's face. Finally I took it,
guiding it to my right side,
where it slid in and burned
worse than fire. I gasped and it withdrew.
In it lay the lotus, plump with wisdom,
which he upraised to examine,
then smashed into his mouth. I screamed.
He trampled half the garden finding the gate.