Christopher Shipman

Most recently, Christopher Shipman is author of The Movie My Murderer Makes: Season II (The Cupboard). Shipman’s work appears in journals such as Cimarron Review, PANK, Pedestal, Plume, Salt Hill, Spork Press, and TENDERLOIN, among others. His poem, “The Three-Year Crossing,” was a winner of the 2015 Motionpoems Big Bridges prize. A Ship on the Line (2015), co-authored with Vincent Cellucci, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Shipman lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he teaches literature and creative writing at New Garden Friends School and dances to the Boss with his five-year-old daughter on his shoulders. He recommends donating to the Legal Defence Fund of the NAACP.

We’re not talking anyway. Not
about anything other
than COVID-19 anyway—
singing its monstrous aria,

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To love her I stuff
hearts inside my eyes—cartoons but pumping 
real blood too—real and red 
                                                  as a child in summer

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Whenever I wake from a bad dream, my murderer gives me homework. He’s there waiting. Not at the edge of the bed, as one might assume, with a hand resting calmly on my back, but sitting alone in the dim light of the kitchen.

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I wonder if what I’m seeing is only my silence
my little silent laugh my little look-around
at the forest of faces growing new faces a long line
of faces and now the old white guy is busy
filling out his form hunched over all his words

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domesticated as the dozen carnations
you carry where you used to carry 
a dozen dead elephants
inside a dozen dead snakes

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