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Peter Mladinic: Topsy

92_ym_topsy_kjhannah.jpg
Art by KJ Hannah Greenberg 2022

Topsy

by Peter Mladinic

 

My dark side isn’t as dark as Thomas

Edison’s. Edison gave us light,

and for that like any sane person

I’m down on my knees thanking him.

But what about Topsy the elephant?

A barker or some such shoved a lit

smoke, the orange tip up Topsy’s trunk

and Topsy hurt the barker,

crushed his foot or just sprained his foot.

For that Topsy, outside a tent, chained

standing but immobile,

got electric bolts shot through her.

She was wired, it’s on YouTube, smoke

rising, the elephant’s ponderous fall,

all because Edison tried something out.

Afterwards he celebrated the execution,

broke out the champagne.

Hooray for advancement!

He shook hands with circus higher ups

and ones who did the dark work.

 

Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table, is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.



KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words and images for an awfully long time. Check out her poetry and art book, One-Handed Pianist (Hekate Publishing, 2021).

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022