Peter Jay Shippy

August 9, 2013 Peter Jay Shippy



At the stoplight in Dogleg children swept metal

detectors over my hood, the road turned


into the aisle of a drive-in, cannibals

and flying saucers, I followed power lines


to Fido where they soak their walls of tavern

in sea holly and vinegar, to keep awake


I paced a train hauling mummies wrapped in sheet

music and hummed along, reaching East Cur


at dawn, I stopped at Temple Laika

to recite abecedarians with the other dis-


inclined, in exchange for a paper sack

of yellow apples I washed breakfast dishes,


in Blue Tick I let a crew wrap me in pony

blankets and push my car onto a bobsled track,


as I hurtled down the course, burning ice

I heard a crowd chanting “Kimchi! Kimchi!” after


sliding several hundred miles I ditched

the highway and took a logger’s road and found


a clearing where I sat and ate my pilgrim’s fare,

my respite’s repast, I wept and hurled cores


at crows and smeared my hair with amber sap

and thought yeah, conductor punch my ticket,


I’m on my way to Sirius for some woof,

for some warp, I used my pocketknife to cut


three holes in the brown bag and placed it over

my head, ready for transgression, as I plotted


a course I noticed a tender caterpillar

in the passenger seat, I extended a finger


and placed her in the glove compartment

to take a breather, to grow into my silk ear.


Peter Jay Shippy‘s first book, Thieves’ Latin (University of Iowa Press) won the 2002 Iowa Poetry Prize. BlazeVOX Books published Alphaville, an abecedarian suite, in 2006. Rose Metal Press released How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic in 2007. Saturnalia Books published A Spell of Songs in 2013. His work has been published in numerous journals, including The American Poetry Review, Fence, FIELD, The Iowa Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendencyand Ploughshares, among others.