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The Elephants

Three Poems

Christopher Bolin

Acuity of Evening

The record of the imperfection of your thoughts
before they administer

or the anonymity of the crowds in your prayers

and of choosing a balcony to the side of their surges, and

whoever turns
to convince you, you are praying for yourself

and you, unable to move

as if the balcony did not have a room behind it
in which everything you remember

is revealed
by the stent

funneling surgical light
into the shadow of the surgeon’s hand.

Body from Body

In the movie-screen version of your shadow it turns to the audience
with a woman’s face

and calls them
by the names of the people who appear in her scenes;

who else would you cast for the moments you stood in this light and
were no one you knew

and who would mistake your shadow’s hand, for something in the off-

window’s light, and never warn her: and if you should
this person

will you remember she’s calling their names
through your


The Displacement Fragment

trenches bridged with eastward dunes
or their

where you

could cross to your mirages and be tracked

to their

edges: to their shadow-less fronds and


checking your visions for descriptions

of them-

catching their clothes on the bundles

of branches

never lit for the snake they cooked with



Christopher Bolin’s collection, Ascension Theory (University of Iowa Press), was a Foreword Reviews “Book of the Year Award” finalist. He has published in jubilat, Lana Turner, Post Road, and other journals. A recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the James A. Michener Foundation, Christopher’s next poetry collection is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press in 2018. Currently, he teaches at the College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University, in Minnesota.

This originally appeared on December 7, 2017