Shadows of birds in sun spots

a movie unfolding
from my ceiling, silent
except the soundtrack

a chirp. Black and white
except the giant yellow
blossom where the ceiling bleeds

during storms. A kind of corsage
a god brings. It hovers.

A lamp, perched
bird, eye of moon
keeping watch.
We undress beneath

warm breath we blow
against each other’s bodies.
Feel hills sliding

down. Great drifts of snow
melt in our wake. Find ourselves

at the center of a lake.
Blue veils of steam

between us now. Mouths and eyes
caves we dive into. Laughter.

Whisper. Collar
bone. Wish bone. Soft

hollow. The whole world
a child’s.
One hot coal

sunk through
its other side, cooling
in a bank of snow.

Ely Shipley‘s first book, Boy with Flowers, won the 2007 Barrow Street Press book prize and the 2009 Thom Gunn Award. His poems and lyric essays have appeared in the Western Humanities Review, Prairie Schooner, Fugue, Gulf Coast, Phoebe, Greensboro Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Diagram, Barrow Street, Lo-Ball, Third Coast, and elsewhere. He holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah, an MFA from Purdue University, and currently teaches literature and writing at Baruch College-CUNY.