Elephant in the Room

by Eleanor Wickman

Artwork by Keegan Hines

Shhhhh…I have a secret that needs to be known.

As I sit on my grandmother’s frayed chair,

listening to my uncle’s slurred boasts of divorce,

an enormous, gray elephant stands by my side.


Under the flickering lights, an elephant appeared,

with ears wilting like Auntie’s Sunday-bonnet.

Two grand ivory spears jut from wraps of charcoal folds,

threatening to knock over empty bottles and ash trays.

The trunk glides on the ground like a Morgan Safety Hood,

trying to escape the toxic fog of cigarette smoke.

Preoccupied with conspiracy theories and stale gin,

they did not notice the elephant pressed in the corner.


My secret was almost revealed when Gramps dislodged his dentures

and nearly collided with the elephant while chasing children.

Thankfully, the man lost his sight during the last reunion

and cannot see twenty one inches in front of him.


Don’t worry; it’s only one elephant in a room.

Shhhh, please keep my secret and don’t tell anyone.

Especially not Aunt Millie

until she has had a bourbon

or two.

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