Parable of Ruminants

by Twila Newey

Who among you will dispute?
close affinity between Ruminants and Pachyderms

Their rudimentary molars allied, to slowly, steadily chew cud.
Their shared propensity to wander toward deeper shades of green

Lush fields move in wave, like water
Consider this horizon of grass

Consider a young one separated from its herd
Longing for seas and shepherds

Seeking a bond hidden by various degrees
Whether sheep or elephant,

We care for the young who miss the mark
Consider a flash, soft, white in

the midst of green
Consider the weight of a young pachyderm, grey

slung across your shoulders
having one hundred of these thoughts,

and losing one of them,
which one of you does not leave

the ninety and nine
Unconsciously seeking propinquity of descent

In deep green memory
In oceanic waves of grass

TWILA NEWEY received her MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University. Her poetry has appeared in Rust + MothPoetryBreakfast, Summerset Review, Two Cities Review, Inflectionist Review, and is forthcoming at After the Pause and The Cape Rock.  She has also completed her first novel, a portion of which won publication in the Exponent II Midrash Contest. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and four children.

Author’s Note: These poems grew out of a paired reading of The Origin of the Species and The Christian Gospels. The italics are borrowed lines from the two texts.

Photo: “Elephant Skin” by Eric Kilby

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