Peter Jay Shippy

New York / United States

Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour

As for me, I became the knife that pares notes
from the sparrow's throat, I flew the fighter

that dropped the bomb on the Cathedral
of Erotic Mystery, as for me, I filleted

your piano, looking for the harp concealed
under the fallboard, then I did what singers do

in arias, I joined the Royal Navy,
Dogsbody, 4th class, mother gave me a bag

of pease pudding, an ampoule of opium,
and a chintz cape slash shroud, lined with moonstones,

as for me, I was in the kitchen baking
lavender cakes, hoping to snare the honeybees

that dropped the bomb on the Cathedral
under the fallboard, then I did what singers do

in a sacred chantey, I tied my leg
to a rocket and launched myself from the beach

into the sky so I could watch the villagers
race from their high pastures to the sea to grab

their harpoons and set off on their jet-skis
in pursuit of whales, as for me, I spent weeks

with my nose glued to your apse, in my green
mantilla and thong, filling evidence bags

with Meissen dildos, snail shell prayer beads,
tibias and fibulas and leaves of ashen psalm,

as for me, back in real time, without you,
I was coding my way to the monkey house

on easy street, I was shooting H-O-R-S-E
with myself when we smelled burnt sugar, skin,

a plume of brown smoke was blocking the sun,
gulls circled, meowing like a sack of children,

as for me, I'm the sentry of a green motel,
over the ancient sea, I guard the window

of Erotic Mystery, as for me, I fillet
the salt glazed glass by my teeth, by my nails,

etching-in your eyes your hair your legs your breasts,
tibias and fibulas and leaves of ashen psalm.
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