“Under the Rug” by Diane Thiel

It started with the dirt. A few swishes of the broom 
and no one noticed. And then some broken glass
that crunched underneath as anyone passed.
But still no one paid much attention.
Then there were some files no one wanted 
to handle. Followed by the flies and rotting garbage.
Chicken bones and feathers. Apparently,
people can overlook anything.  
All this led to the rolling under 
of the grenade,
with the pin still in, at least. People did avoid that spot, 
taking extra care on that frayed and unraveling end.  
Through all this reshuffling, the elephant 
had been sitting quietly in the corner, 
trying to remain inconspicuous, until one day 
they decided it had to go under too.
The elephant handlers arrived in suits and ties 
and quickly learned that the elephant 
would not go quietly under the rug, but 
              resisted fiercely
                                      and started trumpeting down the hallway, 
                           knocking over tables, 
                                       chairs and bookcases,
                                                                dragging the rug, exposing everything
              for just long enough to create a bit of shock—
before the rug handlers quickly put back the rug
on top of everything,
left the elephant alone, watching from the corner,
and everyone went back to the charade,							
to this day especially avoiding 
the spot
with the grenade.

Diane Thiel is the author of ten books of poetry and nonfiction, including Echolocations and Resistance Fantasies. Her new book of poetry, Questions from Outer Space, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in Spring 2022. Thiel’s work has appeared in many journals and is re-printed widely. Her awards include a PEN award, an NEA Award, and a Fulbright. Thiel received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brown University and is Professor of English and Associate Chair at the University of New Mexico. Thiel has traveled and lived in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, working on literary and environmental projects. For more information, please visit her webpage: www.dianethiel.net