The Elephant Charm Bracelet

By Leslie Cairns

My goldfish does not have wings, a butterfly it is not. He does not reign or monarch over me. I added him to my charm bracelet when he died. He went the way of belly up, of lack of bubbles, of coming home from school, to collide into his stillness. An echo chamber, a ghost. The charm I got was typical. Pandora’s kind, just like the box. Once opened, I shopped and shopped for charms, until my wrists were laden, and I had to pick and choose which ones I wanted.

Now I have a butterfly, a goldfish, Eiffel tower because I’m basic, and a coffee-stained elephant.

There’s a meaning behind that one, the long tusks curving towards the sprinkle of a story. I cried so much when I bought it, trying to remember why you loved them so much: all tusks, good memory, better than my own.

Now, when they make noise, I remember that I read somewhere that elephants grieve for their young, and they also have videos of them painting to music of the orchestra. The splotches look like Van Gogh; the elephants’ legs swaying to the latent beat, the trunks that go on for jeweled toned miles, as the fire-stroked grasses wave and call them back.

The elephant on my wrist is not real, nor are you any longer. A good luck charm it is not. But it twinkles, and bends to my wrist, and watches my movements. When I play the piano, they twinkle in tandem. And that is something.

And so –I pretend – it’s enough.

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Leslie Cairns holds an MA degree in English Rhetoric and lives in Denver, CO. She has 47 upcoming/published pieces out in the world (favorites include ‘Zeta’ through  Substantially Unlimited, and ‘The Moths are Caught There’ from Exposition Review).

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