An Ever-Changing Beast

‘We should really address the elephant in the room.’

Those were the words you tossed out over coffee,

like spare change or old candy wrappers,

bits of pieces you were bored with carrying around

and deposited on my living room table

between the books and the plant pots.

There didn’t seem to be much point explaining,

your elephant wasn’t in this room,

or hadn’t been until you kicked up dust clouds

into a grey silhouettes.

I kept my silence on the matter,

much like you had kept yours until now,

too cautious about the fall out,

about how you might have to hold me together

when all the pieces broke apart

and ran for the corners in the skirting,

white mice abandoning ship

at the first sign of storms.

I let you think you were the only one

holding out a hand,

while you explained why I was sad

and how it could all be fixed

if I tired hard enough

and put in the work.

You can learn how to listen to the some speeches

without really hearing them.

It’s the same trick you used each time I tried

to put shadows into sentences,

when the doors opened enough

that I could see you were there.

So I nodded

and I pretended

that all this helped me some,

and then I let you leave smiling like a hero

while I went back to face the storms.


Written as a response to Diana W Peach’s speculative fiction prompt. I was going to write a piece of flash fiction for the prompt of a short story, but this poem so of found its way out instead.


  1. This is stunning, Carol. So rich with emotion, but shut down and stark at the same time. The disconnect is profound. Thanks so much for taking up the prompt and sharing this beautiful poem. ❤


      1. The responses have been so different, and I’m enthralled with the variety. Yours came together wonderfully, Carol. I’m so glad you’re adding your talent to the mix. 🙂


        1. I need to go and read the other responses. The internet went down yesterday and I’ve been at work today so I’ve not had much chance yet. It’s great to see so many people taking an interest though. Writing, especially poetry, is somewhat less daunting when you know someone out there is resonating with what you’ve put down on paper.


  2. I enjoy the description of “putting shadows into sentences.” I understand the concept and think it’s wonderful. I really liked this piece.


  3. Oooh this… this is like talking to my father. Not-listening to his platitutes,
    “It’s the same trick you used each time I tried

    to put shadows into sentences,”


    Well done.


    1. Thanks you. I’m sorry to hear about your conversations with your father. Often the most frustrating part of depression is trying to explain it to those who’ve never had to suffer through it


  4. A personal and powerful response that surprised me. The raw emotions stand out and give rise to questions about our human relationships and concern for one another. Wonderful share, Carol.


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