by Shoshauna Shy
because do I nurture your trust
or undermine it, jump
on the friendship carousel
or blow it to smithereens?
Who has not learned that
we value most what we
have to earn –
so before I reply, I want my
continued absence to turn
the sugar of anticipation to acid
as the hatch of your inbox
is unlatched and emptied.
I want that draft at your neck
called doubt, the regret in your
stomach dancing a jig.
Like a cushion at my back,
your hope supports my entire
weekend as I water geraniums,
barter at the market, kayak across
a lake. Soon as I break my silence,
everything will shift
and I’ll become the sheet battered
in a hailstorm while pinned
to the clothesline; the wasp twisting
in the sticky web; the starfish washed
onto the shore waiting for you to pick
me up, toss me back into the arms
of the sea.
Shoshauna Shy is the founder of Woodrow Hall Editions and the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program. Her poems have recently been published by Poetry South, RockPaperPoem, Write City Magazine, and Pure Slush Books. Author of five collections, she is the recipient of two Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Wisconsin Library Association, and was a finalist for the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid poetry prize sponsored by Winning Writers. One of her poems was nominated for Best of the Net in 2021, and another longlisted for the Fish Publishing Poetry Prize 2022.