Devil’s Lake

Fall 2014 Issue

Glenn Shaheen: Avenues of Conflict

I wish I could protect the people who need it, a ram

among sheep. But I’ve used love

as an errand of pity. She wanted everything

she thought I was but was not.

Who cares. Order

is the key when thinking about making all of the people happy

all of the time. What about the door

for that key? I shall go left

or I shall go right now. A kiss is certain flesh

in a certain context. Who needs their ears

covered, I’ve never ditched a great story, or a great

party. I was here for Rita, for Ike. Houston

can be a real wreck. The spear

acutely jammed in the river.

A hug

is protection when debris is present. I earmark the pages with

true insight, a book is too long, the glass is next

to the bed waiting to be sipped or knocked over onto

all the important papers.

The glass could be empty, and that

could be a disaster or a miracle, the line

so tenuous.

class="indent-l4">Creature comfort was there when we needed it, in your

bedroom I guess, the neighbors’ sex more

vigorous than our own. If love has to wait, may it wait

until a warmer season.

If we are to begin to starve, may we already

be most of the way there.

GLENN SHAHEEN is the author of the poetry collection Predatory (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011) and the flash collection Unchecked Savagery (Ricochet Editions, 2013). He lives in Michigan where he coedits Matter, a monthly journal of political poetry and commentary. Individual pieces have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and elsewhere. More from this issue >