Current Issue

Issue 11: Winter 2017




The Winter 2017 issue of Mangrove Journal is an online-only edition. Print books of select Spring issues are available on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus for a suggested donation of $5-$10 to the Creative Writing Program. Please contact for more information.


Red Elephant

The first time a girl went down on me, I was staring at the elephant on her
ceiling. We’d painted it the hour before. It was red, and her tongue was just as
warm as it had been in my mouth, and as slippery. “So, we’re on the same page,”
she’d asked me. Her fingers were twisted through mine. So cold. “We’re just
friends, right?” “Yeah,” I said. “We’re friends.” And even with this truth lying in
the bed between us, we still didn’t get things right on the first try. Her fingers
between my legs stretched, too much to stay silent. The elephant’s trunk was too
long and looked like a penis. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“I’ll tell you if you do,” I told her, and, “here, follow my finger. It angles
forward.” Neither of us wanted a penis, so we painted a pig. The extra bit of the
elephant’s trunk turned into the pig’s snout and then they were kissing. We were
kissing, and I don’t know what I’d been expecting but it wasn’t her lips, strong
like an elephant’s trunk and so hungry. We ran out of red paint just finishing that
elephant, so she upended a jar of nail polish over the paper plate of our palette
and we painted the pig with the fumes curling up around our heads, driving us
dizzy. Later, on my back in her bed, I was still dizzy. “Can I try something?” she
asked and when I said yes her hands parted the hair of my crotch. Her tongue
went between my thighs and I don’t know if we “got things right” but I can’t
believe we got them wrong, not with her hands on my skin and mine on hers and
her mouth on mine, in mine, and she still had paint on her fingernails. It was red.
I stared up at the ceiling and it looked like the elephant was standing on the lip of
a chasm, the pig dangling from its trunk over an abyss of white. Lips locked
together, refusing to fall.

Jasmine An

Jasmine is double-majoring in anthropology and sociology, graduating in 2015. 
She is studying with Diane Seuss at Kalamazoo College. Jasmine has previously 
been published in The Smoking Poet.