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Christmas Morning, 2012

At daybreak on Christmas morning
In Ruaha, Tanzania
Three jackals arrive at my tent
Wise men bearing small gifts of brown and fur
Peering at me when I call softly to them
From where I sit
Listening to the communicative call
Of red beaked hornbills
And nest weavers
The cloudy gray skies
Brightening over park brush
Crickets chirping
The air so still
Not a blade of grass or a leaf is moving
Only the huffing breath of three visiting elephants
Passing on their morning amble,
Their gentle footfall and flopping sandals
Obscuring the footprints
Of the man who brought the morning coffee
Last evening’s hyena visitors
The trails of snails
The iridescent residue of millipedes
Thicker and longer than a woman’s ring finger
The deep and distant lions’ roar
Bells of a Christmas morning