PARTY TIME Everybody’s laughing at you because you’re swinging a stick like a fool at nothing and because it’s June Fest but moms made them come h e r e. Even Bobby Ferrell, your classroom “book buddy” jeers. The cake your mother served was lemon coconut for your sister who missed out on her own party in April when sick. You trip on your own feet. This makes the pitch of laughter rise – and then ka-SHAB! – the stick makes contact, the string snaps, and the piñata tumbles to the ground. Nobody understands, least of all you, why you keep whacking and whacking that jackass flat even after it spills the goods. CHOOSING THE BEST TIME TO STAGE YOUR OWN ABDUCTION Not while your dorm mate is in Connecticut and won’t notice how you aren’t there but your purse and cell phone are. Not the day when you have Chemistry 101 in the lecture hall that seats 350, and not before a weekend when nobody has a chance of missing someone that they didn’t invite to their party in the first place. In other words, choose a day you’re expected to open the café on your barista shift or meet classmates at the Rathskellar to work on a homework project, preferably two days before a holiday so you’ll be the nucleus of conversation in countless kitchens. Thanksgiving is a good one. Another choice time: day after your sister’s wedding. Once your plane lands back home, board a bus at the airport with connections to the Greyhound and catch another one to Detroit or Chattanooga where you can check in at a Ramada, register under an alias, catch the breaking news on CNN. DIAGNOSIS So, it’s not a death sentence . . . but it’s a run-on sentence because after this MRI comes a biopsy, the results, a determination, consultation, options debated, surgery or treatments, follow-ups, more decisions so no final arrival, no full stop, no getting back to where we started, just these surges to the next stage that land us in limbo between dread and the dare of hope, a besmirched hope because the first great white hope blazing like Jupiter above our garage got blown to smithereens – so, OK, what we’re left with is this but at least it’s not THAT which will probably be our “glass half-full” modus operandi as we get led further and further through the maze of maybe- maybe not; of step here and if you’re lucky, it’s not off a cliff; so no finish lines with banners snapping, no conclusions, just a lot of ellipses and semi-colons and long pauses threading through 3 AM’s and no trophy neither. Don’t forget it. There will be no trophy. There are only momentary winners in this race. FOUNDATION To the unshaven dad barefoot at the stove frying an egg over-easy for your small daughter to whom, when asked why were you whistling, confessed Because I am happy and it wasn’t like you had to explain how well you’d slept or that you loved her mama or the stock market flourished the day before when what you did say was everything – because I know this daughter, and any morning she wakes up in your house or her house or any house to a breakfast with a pan of eggs she holds an unconscious buttery blend of memory – Her part in the golden yolk of your happiness
Author of The Splash of Easy Laughter and four other poetry collections, two of which won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, Shoshauna Shy’s poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies, journals and magazines, inspired videos and even decorated the hind quarters of city buses. Recent poetry publications include Naugatuck River Review, Rockvale Review and Verse Virtual. One of her flash was selected for the Best Microfiction 2021 anthology, and another was among the seven finalists for the Fish Flash Fiction Prize out of County Cork, Ireland this spring. She is the founder of the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program, and the Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Awards.