BORDERS BETWEEN ANYTHING
A lake’s greatest gift might be showing the stars the stars.
It took me a long time to be comfortable enough for me
to tell you I love you. It took a longer time for me to tell
others I love you. I wanted to be sure of it. I had lied
to myself for so long and everyone I ever knew
knew the truth. It was that time in Chicago - the first time
you ran across the street with me under the train clatter.
There are no borders between anything. The lake
Ends at the shore, does it? But the grass and the
trees beyond reflect, too, and in the forest are all
those beech trees - still gold even in winter when
all their brothers stand naked before gods and skies.
It took me an hour after we crossed the street
for me to touch the small of your back in an art museum.
An hour after that - to hold your small warm hand.
An hour after that - to hold you in a room full of
paperweights, little globes reflecting stars. Time.
What I mean is that I loved you before we knew each other.
After we died in a bed in our 80s, as the birds chatted in the backyard.
Do birds wonder what type of bird is an ambulance
racing down the interstate? Do they wonder what
species of bird a train is that rolls slow through a
small town? Cars darting through intersections
angrily: a mating call? What is an airplane to a bird?
Don’t ever think you know the thoughts of another.
We are so beautiful and so misunderstood.
There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t
Think it’d be greatest wish to know what’s going on
in my wife’s head. Her mind some many
feathered thing: brilliant and unfurled.
I keep reading it as CORVID-19.
I imagine a murder of crows in
descent leading us to our death’s
graves, nested in our dark hubris.
WHAT THE LITTLE BIRD THINKS LOOKING AT ME IN SELF-ISOLATION
O! You small creature in the maw.
I have wings and you are no angel.
WORLD ON FIRE
The world is on fire
And on Dick Pritchard’s
real estate website I am
watching a cam of a baby
eagle hatching from its egg.
I keep telling people that
I don’t want people to
all die, humanity to end
entirely, but it’s good
knowing above us, our
graves, in some old snag,
a bird is cracking out.
Jonathan Shipley is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. His work has appeared in such varied publications as the Los Angeles Times, Compound Butter, Fine Books & Collections Magazine, McSweeney’s, and Welding and Cutting Magazine. He started writing in elementary school when his teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, said he might have a knack for it. He’s still not so sure.