Perhaps you too have an older relative
who has mastered the inner workings
of the Internet in a way that necessitates
forwarding every e-mail she receives
to every address on her contact list.
Mine is Cousin Lil, my mother’s cousin.
And I am blessed to count myself
among her contacts.
Some days, while on-line,
I can see them coming,
like an avalanche they fall
through the ether
straight into my inbox.
The same moniker repeating…
I’m especially mystified by those bold
messages that threaten some manner of
cosmic misfortune if they are not forwarded
to at least ten people in the next twenty seconds.
And then there is the alarmist variety,
like the one that offers instructions on
what to do if someone kidnaps you by
locking you in the trunk of a car and
driving off (punch out a taillight and wave
your arm frantically through the hole).
Cousin Lil forwards them all.
I must confess that I’ve begun to delete
these communiqués from Lillycoo,
oftentimes unread and unopened.
But yesterday was a slow a day.
Lil’s subject line read:
“the most amazing video ever.”
I double-clicked it.
A frozen frame appeared behind
the familiar right-pointing triangle,
that universal symbol for Play.
How much do you love it?
Isn’t it the greatest thing since…
I clicked on the triangle.
In the video, a man leads an elephant
to an easel near a group of onlookers.
He places a narrow paintbrush into the grip
of the creature’s nimble trunk.
I watch as the elephant begins to paint
a most astonishing portrait
of an elephant holding a flower.
Later, over dinner, I describe all this
to my husband who says, “Elephants
are very intelligent animals. They are
even known to mourn their dead.”
I ponder this a moment, wondering
if that artful creature might have been
painting a particular elephant.
Perhaps a cousin.