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Trunk Touching

By Carol Hamilton

It was too much 

after all that longing, 

finally a trip to the real circus.

The years of dashing

down our street 

to watch animal cages 

and a lumber-along of elephants 

heading to a field to set up

for another show, 

and years of the glory-stories 

from friends who really 

got to go, and now it all

felt like a dream.

The jumble of bodies

and fry-smells swirled

as I really stood there,


surrounded by waistlines 

and hip bones. The way

was lined with dusty cages

of lions and tigers

and elephants staked down

into the cracked red earth.

Then a touch on my shoulder,

a curl of wrinkled gray and curiosity.

That instant of elephant-touch

is all that remains in memory,

except for the dream state.

Just one small nudge

on a straw-lined path

is the remembered milestone,

a touch to tell me

that sometimes dreams

do come true.

Carol Hamilton has received a Southwest Book Award, Oklahoma Book Award, Cherubim
Award, Pegasus Award, Chiron Review Chapbook Award, David Ray Poetry Prize, Byline
Literary Awards for both short story and poetry, Warren Keith Poetry Prize. She has published
17 books of poetry, legends, and children’s novels. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma, nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize. Her most recent poetry book is SUCH DEATHS published by the Visual Arts Cooperative in Chicago. She lives in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

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