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The Elephants

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout


First they thought
they could get things

Then they thought
they could get

They invented numbers
to find out

if the harm
they'd suffered

equaled the harm
they'd caused.

It didn't.

Then they cast blame
into bars

and carried it

They were forward looking.
We are.

Numbers tick upward
on a board
above our heads.

We've lost track
of what they measure,

but it's something bad.


Hillary Clinton has hidden things
in her private emails. She's dishonest.
It's as if she's been having sex
with your father
behind a closed door --
while Donald Trump makes
a hedge fund manager his
treasury secretary right on
your kitchen table.

Rae Armantrout's most recent book of poems is Partly: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan UP, 2016). Entanglements, a chapbook collecting poems based in physics, is forthcoming in early 2017 from the same press.

This originally appeared on January 14, 2017