Sport 38: Winter 2010
I hold a fat black pencil
that has six sides and read aloud
the indented gold words. They say
KOH-I-NOOR HARDMUTH JUMBO.
They make me think of an elephant
at work in India or another country
that one day I might visit.
The elephant is dark and heavy. Its skin
is lined and hairless. Its trainer wears a turban.
He shouts commands in a language
I can't translate. The animal lifts in his trunk
a log with rough bark. It must carry this to a river
where the log floats downstream with others.
The black paint ends in a perfect wavy line where the sharpener shaved it to make a point. What I want to think about is not the strength of the elephant nor the big precision of its gait but a pencil maker with a pot of black paint and one of gold who sits in a factory and imagines an elephant and a writer.