Three Poems By Heather Christle

by Mark Bibbins, Editor


A house is an elephant I live in
I live in one room and death
is also in it like a plant
I forget sometimes to water
With time I can forget anything
Lost to me have been some lakes
What are death’s priorities
and what are mine and can
we reach a happy agreement
People have said to me in quotes
“safe as houses” and I feel
safe here but I think
my feeling is wrong
An elephant is kind but not safe
is maybe troubled
goes to drink and troubles
the water I can see it
I can see it but I do not understand
I went to steal bread and by mistake
I stole harm
Now harm is in the room
What if we eat it
In the room you are here
just a little, you relax
in your own potential form
I feed you and then I feed death
I bring you water
Time elapses, quilts us into place
This elephant we live in is rising
I think we cannot make her safe


There is only one thing in life that matters
It has to keep growing and it doesn’t need me
Those are not clues Those are laws
The thing is the sky It is blinking I think also
I must be blinking as if to say Sky
you are not the only one outdoors with autonomy
and the sky stays very quiet
It keeps blinking like it is stupid
People think when something doesn’t talk it is interesting
I am always talking and never interesting
like a pile of rocks Is that interesting
or moss wrapped up over the branch
but nature why don’t you say something
It scares people when there’s dead air


Very large I am I am very
large for this aquarium I am
getting water everywhere and
also on my big self Do I really
have to live here forever or
could somebody please beam me
elsewhere Maybe a helicopter
Where do we purchase
the world’s largest one or
what is a new source for light
and did I mistakenly eat it
because please witness how
my incision casts on the ceiling
 — I don’t know — a glow

Heather Christle is the author of The Difficult Farm and The Trees The Trees, both from Octopus Books. A new collection, What Is Amazing, will be out from Wesleyan University Press in the spring of 2012. More information is at

It is almost astonishing, the sheer amount of additional poetry available right here, in The Poetry Section’s vast archive. You may contact the editor at