The robin lies as if
waiting for wind
to tear from its breast its sun
burst feathers. Head and neck wrenched
sideways, still lifelike, one eye
glints a speck of sun, sun
in the center of that black
eyelid stitched white. To touch, I
bring my hand close. The wing
lifts. From a burrow in its guts
a funnel of tiny winged bodies
spirals out. Growing sounds
raise the body. Waves of nausea
break over me.
feast in the hollow.
Ely Shipley’s first book, Boy with Flowers
, won the Barrow Street Press book prize judged by Carl Phillips, the Thom Gunn Award, and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His poems and essays appear in the Western Humanities Review, Prairie Schooner, Willow Springs, Florida Review, Phoebe, Greensboro Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Diagram, Gulf Coast, Fugue, Third Coast
, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from Purdue University and a PhD from the University of Utah. He currently lives in New York City and is an Assistant Professor at Baruch College, CUNY.