There’s the flannel shirted man selling
ivory next to the hotdog stand.
Is it real? Too white to be real.
this box full of small uncrafted pieces.
If they’re real, I’ll buy them.
I ask if it’s old ivory. The kind of ivory
the Romans used for the whites
of an eye in their statues. Or the ivory
the Irish decorated the hilt
of their swords with. Or the ivory
Vietnamese used as a seal
for their documents. The ivory
billiard balls and piano keys
were made of. Pre-illegal trade,
pre-ban. I have ivory rules.
An animal must be dead,
or the tusks must be so removed
from the head, so gone from the jaw
that it never could look like it had been
attached to a breathing being. It has to be