Posted in Africa, Elephants, Jabu, Travel


An excerpt from my book:

There is nothing like him on earth.  His head alone is more immense than an entire gorilla.  Jabu is one hundred times larger than I am.  His trunk is larger than I am.  A single leg is larger than I am.  He fills my entire range of vision.

He reaches out with his trunk and rests it on the ground in front of my boots.  The tip of it lifts, opens, inhales my scent.

Jabu & Sandi

Do you recognize her, Jabu?” Sandi asks him.  Gently he swings his trunk to tap lightly against Sandi’s shoulder bag.

What’s in there?” I ask.

Sandi shows me a little mound of pellets cupped in her hand.  “Pressed alfalfa, wheat bran, salt, ground corn and sunflower hulls.”  Elephant candy, immediately vacuumed into Jabu’s trunk and transferred to his mouth.

Jabu turns his head toward me.  And You?

I hold out empty hands.  His trunk hovers over them for less than a second and then drops down to rest near my feet.  As I run my fingers along his warm tusk he snorts out a huge exhale, CHUFFFFFffffffff.


Cheryl Merrill’s essays have been published in Fourth Genre, Pilgrimage, Brevity, Seems, South Loop Review, Ghoti, Alaska Quarterly Review, Adventum and Isotope. “Singing Like Yma Sumac” was selected for the Best of Brevity 2005 and Creative Nonfiction #27. It was also included in the anthology Short Takes: Model Essays for Composition, 10th Edition. Another essay, “Trunk,” was chosen for Special Mention in Pushcart 2008. She is currently working on a book about elephants: Larger than Life: Living in the Shadows of Elephants.

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