2 Poems



The stomach determines

contentment or distress –

that pouch behind the ribs

hanging like a wattle

inflates the kitchen table

till it touches walls, makes

the speck of grit inside my

sock swell into a boulder,

the faucet’s steady drip, drip, drip

wear enamel off my tooth.

To what do I owe

this hollow bowl


of unplanned solitude?

Named luxury till

a Canadian wind

smothered all my options,

left me the ribs

of cupboard shelves:

a single box of hardtack.




Obituary of a Former

Friend’s Dad


How satisfying to read

that the woman for whom

you swept your family aside

was the woman you kept

these 30 years hence.

Even your son must have to admit

that one was a prize, well worth

his gut ache.




Shoshauna Shy founded the program Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf which brings poetry out of the classrooms and libraries into the public eye. She also helps to create, coordinate and facilitate the poetry events for the annual Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison.