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3 poems by Vik Shirley

The Wet Hollows

The forest is attempting to gain custody of me,

on the grounds I have a leafy nose.

No one has the energy to contest it,

so there’s a good chance it could all go through.

I like belonging to the lake

and am surprised and disappointed

the lake is willing to entertain this prospect,

let alone allow it to happen.

The lake took me on due to my watery holes

and my watery holes have never failed.

I’ve done exactly what is expected of me,

therefore fulfilling any unsaid obligation.

So I should like to understand why it is letting me go.

And I should like to take a look at the legal records

and all the related documentation.

And I should like to know what to expect

once the forest has custody of me

and what will become of my watery holes.

Stuff of dreams

I went to the corner of my grandfather’s street,

which leads to either the film house or the grocery store.

Both have portals to different realities

that operate on a rota system, between them,

the sex shop, and the Dalai Lama-themed crazy golf course

in the shopping mall. So you never know

what you’re gonna get. But this is by-the-by.

I went to the corner to meet a man I knew

about the crazy dreams I’d been having.

He was one of several dream interpreters

in the neighbourhood, but this particular one

had been my preference since he dislodged

a fishbone from my throat using the Heimlich manoeuvre

and had subsequently been using said bone as a divining device

to find traces of ancient dreams trampled and buried

in the ground. I sometimes met him at our favourite bar

to hear about the dreams than were beneath us

in this very neighbourhood. But the dream

I’d been having was causing me great concern,

so much so that the hair in my spectacular monobrow,

for which I was known, had fallen out.

So the dream interpreter didn’t recognise me

and we didn’t get to have the conversation after all.

Lipogram in a

I fell in love with the sloth-like boy in the photo.

Not everyone’s thing, I know. But to me, perfect.

I forged, sculpted, exercised spells.

To conjure him, to usher him out of the picture.

To deliver him to me. He didn’t come.

I tried dressing my dog up like him

but, unwilling, my dog got upset.

I’d done it before with boys in pictures.

Dumbo Octopus Boy, I remembered. Mmm.

I eyed him, my dog, begging. He didn’t soften.

Tried to shut me out. I’d seen this before.

Nothing to lose, I jogged his memory,

reminding him of the boy who looked mole-like.

The boy he’d worshiped, cherished, doted on

once present. My dog smiled coyly, curled

his lip like Elvis, took position.


Vik Shirley’s collection,The Continued Closure of the Blue Door (HVTN), pamphlets, Corpses (Sublunary Editions), Grotesquerie for the Apocalypse (Beir Bua) & Poets (Red Ceilings), & book of photo-poetry Disrupted Blue & other poems on Polaroid (Hesterglock) were published 2020-2022. Her work has appeared in such places as Poetry London, The Rialto,Magma & Perverse.


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