They Are Again Culling the Elephants

by Alex Cigale

They are again culling the elephants
So that other animals might live
Out of a herd of a thousand each year
Hundreds hundreds of adults must be killed
These are immense and destructive creatures
Shot from helicopters into the brain
Do what they have to do it must be done
The sharpshooters don’t like it but they must.

In April of 1977
a 3-ton bullock escaped from a slaughterhouse
ran through the streets of Skegness Lincolnshire
to seek refuge in the sea but was caught
nearly 2 hours later in a lifeboat
towed onto the beach with a rope and shot dead.

Alex Cigale‘s poems have recently appeared in The Cafe Review, Colorado Review, Green Mountain Review, Hanging Loose, and McSweeney’s, and are forthcoming in Gargoyle, Global City Review, Many Mountains Moving, North American Review, and Zoland Poetry. Stranger at Home: American Poetry With an Accent is just out with four of his poems, as is the chapbook Chronicle of Calamities. Alex was born in Chernovtsy, Ukraine and has lived in New York City since 1975, excluding the six years spent at the University of Michigan, where he won a Hopwood Award. Alex’s translations of contemporary Russian poetry can be found in Crossing Centuries: The New Generation in Russian Poetry, Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry New York, and The Manhattan Review.

Back to Issue One: Fall 2008