The Ivory of the Elephant

            In the Victorian era,

there were prostitutes—many,

who, walking toward their sexed-up men,

trod over oriental rugs designed with undulating swirls

made from fine, gold silk.

The walls surrounding them were papered with ivory-colored,

abstract shapes

and deep red birds that appeared to be in movement,

although they were all stuck in one place.


The hue of the buildings in which they lived were chosen

by owners who claimed that color could, indeed,

affect oneÕs mood.

Red, supposedly, was the color of intimacy and arousal.

The gold silk was to make the patrons think of luxury,

make them believe that they werenÕt inside of a brick building

on the west side of London,

or broken-down soldiers during wartime America,

paying to have sex with women who hadnÕt been their age

for about thirty or forty years,

but were instead within the lavishly expensive corridors

of a manor house.


Of the ivory, the prostitutes were never sure.

Perhaps it was more for themselves than the men,

to remind them that a precious part of them was being torn away

with every man that pumped inside of them,

just like the elephant,

which dies in the process of giving up the one thing

that man desires from it.


© Abbey Serena


Bio:  Abbey is a senior at Bowling Green State University, studying Creative Writing. She has one upcoming publication in Ofi Press Magazine.