Why do you want our text messages and other works by Christopher Shipman

Christopher Shipman's poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in Caribbean Writer, Exquisite Corpse, Redactions, and Salt Hill. His poem, "From All the Purple Deer" was recently featured on Verse Daily, and his review of Andrei Codrescu's Jealous Witness is forthcoming in American Book Review. Christopher Shipman is poetry editor for New Delta Review.

Angel Dream

Your birthday was the sell-by date
on the jug of orange juice we bought
for mimosas we never made,
breakfast we never ate.

When you left I turned
all the photos over,

smothered your faces
in white dust.

Rain made stuttering speech
on the air-conditioner. I'd fallen asleep.

Things changed outside my window-
clouds purpled themselves
with their own swollen fists.

I dreamed streets of angels in snow.

Nothing of you was unreal
as the existence of eyes. I tell them
to close.


Why do you want our text messages

Because you sent me
a strange message last night
that said:

you sent me
a strange message last night

and I don't know why

Because you said:

I'm all about breath on the spine
and fingertips

and my fists of flowers
are on their last bee.

Because I can't find someone
staring me in the face.

Because my clothes are no solar systems
and I have an unbearable sense of urgency.

Because palms are palimpsests now,
all I have to freeze over this town.

What is tonight about?

Because the birds don't answer
I can't stop asking.

What can they say? That there's
an ice storm in my veins?

I should have never
learned to fly.

Because when the snow is gone
I won't cling to this world.

The sun came and never left. It finally

Because this is one of those bars
that burn your eyes

and I can't close them because
I can't stop reading my phone:

black holes


how is it
the other side

I don't think you know ice
like I do
snow's melted but it's still
happily cold
waiting for you.


I wrote these letters
in snow:

she'll kill you
if you let her. You letter
the white like a child
tracing a finger
in dust.