Four Poems –Peter Jay Shippy


After the cremation, the vet gave them Argos’s homing chip. “Nothing melts these damn things.”

Penelope jammed it between Odysseus’s front teeth and led her old cur home.

The Novemberite

The crow mistook my pupils for stones for its gizzard for grinding bones.

At least he leads me to town on a silk leash.

At least I can see how a bird’s rattle boils into being.

At night, at least, the bird rests its beak against my cheek as we share a smoke and listen to the wind unwind the oak leaves.

From the Histories

After the soliloquies the king grew so thin his crown became a corral barbed with crusty stars.

He sprouted a fringed jacket and learned to wail at the moon, to keep the wolves at bay, at bay.


Souvlaki, at 4:00 AM

A light bulb fizzes.

A fly on the fritz rubs its eyes into the screen until I open the door and evict the king from holy Thebes.

Peter Jay Shippy’s 4th book is A Spell of Songs (Saturnalia Books). He lives in Jamaica Plain with his wife and twin daughters.

Image: Alternative design for the ‘elliptical rooflight’ in Meeting House at SussexUni by Basil Spence (detail)

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