A herd of tiny elephants stampeded
across Claude's formerly forked tongue
grazing his molars with their tusks when
he went back to revisit the old neighborhood
where he used to play hopscotch and handball.
He tried to forget but it all came groveling back.
The air smelled like Chinese leftovers
that had been sitting in the car all afternoon.
Traffic lights plummeted like icicles
for blocks around. Just like the old days.
Claude clomped along the cold, dusty streets,
swaddled and shapeless in crocheted
mummy wrappings, dripping mucus,
like Joseph Merrick in the Galapagos
trying to whistle like the finches, nodding off
against the back of a tortoise
knocking his skull on a rock when it walks away
then pretending to still be asleep to save face
Claude's ersatz snores echo through the streets
waking up a population doing their damnedest
not to fucking evolve