The Tall Lighthouse
Jodie Hollander

Jodie Hollander is originally from Wisconsin and now lives and works in Washington DC. An alumni of the Creative Writing MA at Bath Spa University, her poetry has appeared in a number of poetry magazines and journals both in the

UK and America. She has also received a Fullbright Scholarship and is due to receive a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2013.

The Humane Society is her debut pamphlet.


The Humane Society


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The Glass Elephants from The Humane Society


I always thought I’d knock all twenty-two of them off

the window-sill in one clean

sweep, smashing legs, trunks and tusks on the shiny

hardwood floor, but I never


disturbed the perfect order that gave the illusion of

one seamless line of elephants.

He’d measured the exact distance between their

feet, spaced them so no trunk ever quite


touched a tail. Each elephant was a different shape

and size, and each elephant was from

a different country, but they were all from that same

woman who had left him years ago.


The leader was faceless and was made of a proud

marble-green. Its two sturdy tusks

converged around a raised trunk that appeared

frozen in a violent call of danger.


The smallest was a legless calf made of clear blown

glass from Italy. It had cartoonish

ears, unopened eyes and sat chubby on its

haunches, making it stand out from the line.


He’d often threatened to remove the little one from

his perfect line and smash its clumsy

body, but he never touched any of them, and

neither did I. Instead, each morning


I’d watch him wipe the dust and sunbeams off

each elephant’s back, rub their glass

bellies with a rag, and re-measure the spacing

between their feet, ensuring nothing


had moved during the night. Then he’d gently

circle the rag over their glass eyes, to clear

their view of  the panorama of a dead brown valley,

stretching for miles and miles ahead.

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