September 9, 2021

“Party Time,” Poetry by Shoshauna Shy

“Party Time,” Poetry by Shoshauna Shy
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.

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. 

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. 
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 


Party Time

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.

Party Time
#birthday#childhood#college#poetry#shoshauna shy

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