Jen Ryan Onken: Billiards

The tusks of female elephants were straighter than the males’. The tusk of the average- sized female elephant yielded five billiard balls. Sales documents of that time often refer to the ivory of female elephants as ‘billiard’. 
~a placard in Stone Town, Zanzibar

To be called the thing 
your body’s used for, 
that’s metonymy. 
I’ve never heard 
a woman called 
Fuck but I don’t 
speak all the 
languages. It’s true 
in English women
call men Dicks.
When I look at
an elephant I don’t
see a billiard ball, 
but marauders
did. Using only her 
head an elephant 
can level a tree
or a hillside. I recall
a coffee table
of a distant cousin
made from an
elephant’ ear. 
Its legs were made
of legs (and feet)
which had thin,
black bristles,
which I in horror 
touched. An elephant
may flap her ears 
before charging, 
before laying you
flat as a table. She
may call you Man
or Beast or she
may call you Table.