Dead Elephant Hair

The end of an African
elephant’s tail is hairy.
The hair is coarse and
strong, like fishing line.

On big game safaris
it’s traditional to cut off
the tail of your dead elephant
with a knife.

The bwana will take a
picture of you holding the
tail in one hand and your
knife in the other.

When posing, make sure to
hold the tail vertically:
bloody stump down,
hairy tip up.

Don’t let blood drip
onto the hair. Nobody likes
bloody elephant hair.
It’s very hard to clean.

Legend says wearing an
elephant hair bracelet
will protect you from
misfortune and illness.

It will bring love, health
and prosperity.
You only need two
or three hairs.

You can buy a
bracelet on eBay
or you can kill
your own elephant.

Tanzania and Mozambique
still allow elephant
hunting. But Zimbabwe
is the best place to go.

You will find an elephant
to kill about midway
between Bulawayo
and Victoria Falls.


© 2017, Eliot Jacobson, Ph.D.

Published in PoetryCircle, July 3, 2017

Image Credits: Jean Smith

Eliot Jacobson

Eliot Jacobson is a retired professor of mathematics living in Santa Barbara, CA. He spends his time hiking with his dog Rosie, docenting elephants at the Zoo, playing Irish music, performing in theater and opera, and reading and writing poetry. Eliot has published three books on gambling.

eliot-jacobson has 4 posts and counting.See all posts by eliot-jacobson

5 thoughts on “Dead Elephant Hair

  • January 21, 2018 at 8:45 pm


    The objectivity of the poem and the absence of moral conscience is what makes the poem so horrifying and hard-hitting. I almost made me sick. Great poem in my opinion.

  • February 13, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Have always loved this poem and happy to see it again.

  • February 21, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Deserved to be featured. Layers of meaning in it. Enjoyed Eliot.


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