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.