Hunting a Tiger Without a Gun

by Cornelia Rohde

The jungle splits open.
Two hundred kilos of steel
shoots out snarling.
My knees grip
the hide of the elephant.
His scream slices the air.
Fearful of fangs and claws
hurtling at his heart,
he swings sideways.
I fight for balance on his back,
grasp at strands of his hair,
blood thundering in my ears.
He surges back,
tusks set to gore.
He lunges forward bellowing.
The tiger menaces, rumbles,
melts in retreat.
My teeth unlock.
My breath explodes.


Camped at Nambwa

by Elaine Edwards

Lulled by the burbling Mashe River,
babblers, piping wagtails,
wind moving in the acacias,
I sit on my camp chair
and sew a button on my shorts.

The crack of a branch –
I dive for the tent.
Great grey ghosts surround me
a forest of trees and trunks
moving towards the river.

I hear the plop of dung,
smell the steaming vegetation,
hear tummies rumbling,
smell dust and my own sweat,
see a trunk curl into the tree,
hear the swish of leaves.

Two young bulls come to my door,
peer through the gauze enquiringly.
I can count each prickly eyelash.
I sit quite still, aware of clammy hands
and pounding heart.

At last they move away.
Later I hear splashing
and the hippos’ furious snorts
as they swim across the river.

How long they stay,
how long I sit and wait
I do not know,
but when I finally look down
I’m clutching my shorts in one hand
and the needle in the other.