Mark Doty

Little Mammoth

Mother’s milk in my belly


and a little of her shit, too,

so that I might eat


of the sour-green steppes

that opened endlessly


before me, though not long

after I slid into sunlight


and the grass-world I slid

again into the mudhole,


and screamed, and screaming

sucked clay into my trunk


till I lay on the bottom,

my milk-tusks not even


sprouted, a sweet undercoat

of fat ready for my first winter,


and I am still one month old,

and forty thousand years without my mother.






Mark Doty

Mark Doty is the author of three memoirs and twelve books of poetry, most recently Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems (HarperCollins, 2008), which received the National Book Award; School of the Arts (2005); Source (2002); and Sweet Machine (1998).

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