Dan Chiasson

(1971 / Vermont / United States)

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The Elephant

How to explain my heroic courtesy? I feel
that my body was inflated by a mischievous boy.
Once I was the size of a falcon, lion-sized I was,
once I was not the elephant I find I am.
My pelt sags, and my master scolds me for a botched
trick. I practiced it all night in my tent, so I was
somewhat sleepy. People connect me with sadness
and, often, rationality. Randall Jarrell compared me
to Wallace Stevens, the American poet. I can see it

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