- Elephants of the Good Ship Memory
I'm drunk and lost in Minneapolis. It's last century and my hair is long and you're here somewhere, but I can't find my wallet or Aldrich Avenue or
anything that looks like Minneapolis because I'm drunk and lost in Los Angeles, and I have a crew cut and twenty-five dollars and I've had
so much whiskey I can feel the century diminishing grain by grain and you in there somewhere, in 1998 or 1999, pushing away like a ship from a pier
which is why I'm drunk and lost in San Francisco and can't find my hotel which looks like a hotel in New Orleans or Baton Rouge, and no one will give me
directions to Spring Street or Hawthorne or Fells Point or any of the holies that make up my America. I'm drunk and lost, and you're here
somewhere, with my ring and my memory. It's last century or a century ago, and I can't remember the shape of your face or the year we met. Maybe memory is like
a ship that no one captains, or a locked box that rattles and rattles but never confesses what it's hiding. I wander side streets and squares
and imagine you asleep in the locked box of your bed, your house a ship that always drifts away from me. It's New Year's Eve, and I'm thirty. Times Square
is closed, I'm lost in a crowd of children and barkers, and 42nd Street is full of elephants. One of them is smaller than the others, white as a sail, patiently [End Page 48]
chewing a plait of grass. He watches as I fumble forward, drunk on champagne, and reach out to touch his trunk. He's solid as a square-rigged mast or an old tree, his eyes on my face
dark and definite. This is Manhattan, the eyes say. This is just a city, just a girl, just America. It's not everything. Go home.
Preston Mark Stone’s work has appeared in the Red River Review, Lumina and the Crab Creek Review. He holds an MA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College and was a winter fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where many of these poems were written.