The Shadow of Small Things

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I have been told that I am in possession of the memory of an elephant

(perhaps it’s the memory of the tiny wooden elephant in the photo above.

I wonder if that elephant is in possession of my memory?

Did we swap?)

usually when I recall in detail an event which others have forgotten

but am I truly remembering it

are the details correct

or do I just have a vivid imagination

if no one else can recall the event

how do they know that my version of it is real?

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“Memory was that woman on the train. Insane in the way she sifted through dark things in a closet and emerged with the most unlikely ones – a fleeting look, a feeling. The smell of smoke. A windscreen wiper. A mother’s marble eyes. Quite sane in the way she left huge tracts of darkness veiled. Unremembered.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

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I did have the dubious pleasure of riding an elephant once

as a child

its skin was painfully prickly

and I immediately regretted allowing myself to be cajoled by zealous adults

while wearing a skirt

into doing something I had been reticent to do

as I wasn’t certain that the elephant wanted a child placed on its bare back

it was during that time when my father took me

to every circus he could find

as he was preparing to do a series of paintings of the subject

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