Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Poem: ‘Feeling Small’ vs. Bigness of The Elephant

The morning of the first day of kindergarten

Lining up by last name (of course I’m last)

I feel sick (I cut my own hair the night before)

My mom kneels down and comforts me

Telling me I am confident, smart, beautiful, curious

I am her “little elephant”


In this new wilderness, I want to play

Hanging close to my pack

For now, the lions are my friends

I enjoy playing on the jungle gym with the crocodiles

We take turns going down the slide

There is peace on the plains


But, I grow my tusks and the lions grow their fangs

Now I am more cautious

Now there is Darwin

Now we stay only in our packs

Now I avoid Sarah in the hallway

Now there is a distinct change


I am aware of the rules

I trust my instincts

Did you know that the elephant has an amazing internal compass?

I no longer am self-centered

I have a firm foundation (I weigh more than two Mini-Coopers)

But I am careful of where I step


“Elephant,” my favorite term of endearment

It no longer holds the weight that it used to

It’s just my mother’s simple metaphor

Now there are no more packs

The battle tusks are just a memory

Just an encouraging thought from my youth


Growing tusks

Learning the ways of wilderness

Survival of the Fittest

Being wary of lions

Staying in the pack


Compass that leads me in the right direction





Now when my mom endearingly calls me her elephant

It’s no longer a cure for my insecurities as I am in control of my own life

More of a loving idea

A mother-daughter tradition