Ed Shacklee



What terror, if I ever spied
my outré inner self outside!
How gross, to wake with mandibles,
plus legs, and legs, for handibles,

as in that twisty, phobic tale
of angst reduced to human scale
where everyman’s a roach writ small
who yearns to strut, but learns to crawl.

Perhaps he wouldn’t seem as pesky
sugarcoated by Dostoyevsky—
still, who can fathom which madame’s a
lady bug for Gregor Samsa?


The Mope

Drear and friendless, fear the endless droning of the Mope,
whose puling plaint’s dyspeptic, and yet epic in its scope.
Its swinging moods are dreadful as a dead man on a rope.

Disdaining food for thought, it spots the snot in the sonata,
the rat in five star ratings, out of sorts unless it’s got a
little cross to bear or else a prominent stigmata.

Insipid, uninspired, far too tired for a tirade,
its spine is wet spaghetti, and its final nerve is frayed.
Its sobs are often stifled but a trifle overplayed

as foresight warns, then hindsight mourns: it looks within, and sighs
a small, resigned lamenting sound, like heat escaping pies,
yet may not bore you with details, although Lord knows it tries.

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. He is working on a bestiary.