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The Elephants

Seven Poems

Anaïs Duplan

A single butterfly landed on De’Shawn’s back at the barbecue. OK, now put that image out of your head. Next image, you a pauper in the desert. You, pushing spit from your mouth into your eyes and nostrils, hair and nostrils, dog-spit mouth, hair and nostrils, towel naked shower window, in radio, in afternoon with Ryan, it rains in his truck.

don't fix a thing darling
you’re already shining like window cleaner
no one’s watching!
you’re never gonna read
this bitch ever again hoe
ha    ha    ha    ha    ha
Chester wags his tale
everytime I LAAAAAUGH!

I am announcing that I am going into my depths. What is
this thing called poetry.

does it see me
do i talk to it
what are its standards
for personhood why is white
male Christianhood considered the
most reasonable of bodies, what are
your cultural practices, do they
constitute sexual harassment?
are you an American?
are you a poet?
will David Lehman
anthologize you? will you'll
live forever?

Do you want to be doing something else besides this? I shrink at the thought. I don’t care if my sentences are built the same. Ryan is a good man with a good sense of the sentence. I have a tendency for declaration. This is because no one important ever listened to me. Not in the beginning. She crashed the car on purpose! I understand now this is what I have to do.

Hunger is the bane of my existence. You are my best friend. Somewhat. I’m not sure I’d like to finish what I’ve started. I’m not concerned at all with the poem now you have to understand. There is nothing wrong with this. Please. I ate half a papaya. I can’t stop thinking about Bluets and how if this becomes a chapbook will people compare this to that? This is nothing like that. I haven’t even thought about formatting yet. No one will read this book and almost everyone will prefer Bluets. What do you want? A fucking postcard

Poets of Facebook they follow you.
You don’t know them they
don’t know you. It would be a
mistake to publish this. You love mis-

I’m just trying to think out loud.

Seems like that’s what everyone else is doing

Something else I have to say: You will alienate
everyone you love, systematically, as a practice.

Anaïs Duplan is the author of Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016) and the forthcoming poetry chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus (Monster House Press, 2017). Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in/on Hyperallergic, PBS News Hour, Poetry Society of America, the Academy of American Poets, Literary Hub, and elsewhere.

This originally appeared on February 4, 2017