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Dillenia indica- the elephant apple tree.  Image Wikimedia

Hamlet said a king could pass through the guts

of a beggar.  Well, I was not prudish.

I was dependent on the pachyderms.

My genes went on elephantine journeys.

They were spread far and wide by these creatures.

They did their business – pat!- while I would pray.

Firstly, of course, they had to eat my fruit.

(Don’t ask me why Elephas Maximus

assisted me and was so efficient too.)

We had a symbiotic arrangement:

if you scratch my back, then I will scratch yours.

Only, I haven’t seen them for five years.

I am hoping that they will not forget.

Their cognitive map used to bring them back;

if it’s true they have all been poached, I’m stuffed.

They would recall when my seeds would ripen.

Humans don’t need them in the way I do,

but, as heavy horticulturalists,

these so-called Gardeners of Asia,

would lumber in a positive fashion:

not pulling down forests permanently,

but merely clearing a space for others.

Now we have Empty Forest Syndrome.

I have to drop my seeds around my base.

Sure, monkeys, rodents, bats and birds oblige,

but my sphere of influence is curtailed.

Here I stand: Dillenia indica,

last of my kind.  I can do no other.

Humankind’s nine billion seeds may not last,

for men don’t follow the ancestral paths;

they don’t see the elephant in the room,

but argue about constituent parts.

As in the fable, they are visionless.

I am the last Elephant Apple tree.

I can teach you about good and evil.