Place a jade crown upon the night sky, oh my daughter,
and a silver crown on each grain of sand beneath your feet.
Do not trust horny boys or polite politicians.
Trust only the hymn in your cells.
The path you must walk is as narrow as a zebra sword’s edge,
and it is slippery with grandmother tears.
Find the moss-covered elephant bone, oh my daughter,
on the sea cliff where I brought you into this world,
where my labor cries mixed with the waves and the whale songs.
Strike the drum of the Elephant God with the bone
to the rhythm of the hymn in your cells.
Strike the drum for the orphans of the Calliope Wars,
and for the corpses of angels swinging from street lamps.
For the wailing trees being eaten by sheet metal locusts,
for the silent army of children with pitchforks,
for the night sky filling with deathball machines,
for the wormtoothed dragon awakening beneath the mountain,
for the puppets made of flesh made to dance for the oil kings,
and for the baby who is stirring in your womb,
strike the drum, oh my daughter, strike the drum.
My cells taught you a hymn as soon as you were conceived,
and it’s wiser than anything I can say to you here.
Strike the drum of the Elephant God until sunrise,
then begin making your nest as I taught you.
Your labor cries will soon mix with the cries of the grandmothers,
and I will be cherishing you deeply, oh my daughter.
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