ODD CONVERSATION OVERHEARD AT STARBUCKS
“After Mother died,” she said, “my father stomped around the house shouting, ‘Death is an elephant.’ ”
“What did your father mean?” he asked.
“I didn’t know,” she said. “But I thought of Hannibal crossing the Alps, starting with thirty-seven elephants and only four survived. Somewhere in a Swiss meadow tusks are buried, pounds of ivory returning to the earth.”
He bit on his thumbnail, looking at the floor. “You know, when I was a kid, I’d lie in summer grass and pick shapes out of the clouds. Almost always saw an elephant, trunk curling away and ears spreading against the sun.”
“Ever dream of elephants?” she asked.
He shook his head. “You?”
"Once. An elephant was hiding in the garage," she said. "I propped a ladder against him, climbed to his back and slipped into his warm wrinkles. I'd still be there if time had not lifted the latch."
CHELLA COURINGTON teaches at Santa Barbara City College. Her prose and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and recently in Gone Lawn, Los Angeles Review and Nano Fiction. She lives on the Pacific Coast with another fiction writer and two cats.