Elephant 2

By the time the cops finally arrived
to cordon off the scene
a crowd had gathered across the street

Old women in terry towelling dressing
gowns whose hair was
curled around the plastic fingers
of an ancient suburban cliche
stood and quietly clucked
while the pensive men stood
about in earnest, useless circles
of folded arms
and thongs

Some kids had started up
a noisy game of cricket in a driveway
but no one seemed to mind

Nobody had ever seen anything like it
much less heard a sound as morbid

It takes a great deal of force
to push a grand piano out
into the street
and then to swing an axe
clean through its spine
even as the strings held on
to life
and song
and keys were cast about
in splintered proof of an angry dread
that finally won out
and ended with broken legs and
steel strings strewn across a front yard

As the street began to fill with cops
and that high tensile macho
swagger that they bring
the morning power walkers
joined the gawkers
and the rubber necks

And no one even feigned objection
when the Wilson’s labradoodle
crept across and stole a splintered key
and scurried off
to see at last what dead elephant
tastes like

It’s unheard of
they said

It doesn’t seem real
they said

No one had ever murdered a piano
in the street like that

No one had ever murdered a piano
full stop

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