i.
I’ve been meaning to ask:

You see this elephant too, right?

But every time I stick my neck out
and peer around his boulderous bulk,
you’re looking back at me.

It seems a shame to ruin the moment
by talking about elephants.

 

ii.

In third grade,
Sterling Miller flipped a penny 30 times
and got 30 heads,
I watched it.

I’ve never believed in God, but I know He plays dice,
that every moment is another spin of the slot machine,
and that there are no miracles,
only statistically significant improbabilities.

I’ve spent so long listening to the sermons
of the statisticians, the scientists, and the skeptics
that I never attribute to intention
what has a chance of being chance.

Are you really looking for me?

Do you actually see this elephant too?

Or does the penny just keep coming up heads?

 

iii.

The butterfly you pin to the board is lifeless.
You kill the cat by opening the box.
Merely by observing,
we change the outcome.

I’ve been meaning to ask:

You see this elephant too, right?

But maybe there’s no elephant at all,
maybe these legs are tree trunks,
this tail, a rope,
the trunk, a snake.

I don’t ask if you see the elephant,
because what does it mean

if you don’t?


Published in quarterlife, vol. 7, iss. 4: the troll issue (Whitman College, May 2013). Cover image by Bo Erickson, used with permission. Thanks, Bo!

(Yeah, I got my poetry published!)