3 poems by Jake Sheff

Jake Sheff

Elegy for Goldfish II: A Failed Acrostic

“…[M]ost errors consist only in our not rightly applying names to things.” Baruch Spinoza, The Ethics

Stillness swam so uninformed!
Obviously uniformed,
Limit-touching creatures loved you. 

Oafish me; love’s interstate
Mastered loss. The interest rate
Operated on what loved you

Nearly as long as the strife-
Stricken striving in each life
Held you. Ferruginous slush funds loved you,

Extra sure and iron-rich. 
Frozen by reason’s heat: my sitch… 
Famous sylvan skylines loved you. 

Elegy for Cat III: A Failed Acrostic 

Vitality’s white fur combines
Intensity with peace to make
Regality the Antonines
Go after in our memories:

It’s what you gain from such great heights;
L’appel du vide cannot compete
Very much longer: bluer lights
Instructed eyes less blue than yours. 

Real love is heavy in abstracto;
Geography itself admits,
In time, all hearts feel time’s X-ACTO. 
(Lord Acton felt it in his pen.)

Varying sentence length, when flux
Insists, distracts winter. My grief 
Repairs the wings on flying fucks,
Gaslighting all my funereal birds. 

I miss you. If these aren’t your best
Lopsided lapses, then I’m Queen
Victoria! (My constant guest
Is memory; I water down 

Reminders with reminders…) Life’s 
Gimlet can turn life’s heartache sweet,
If heavens mix aperitifs. 
Live wires seek and find each other. 

The Broadway Bridge

“[A]rgument is thrown away upon a magician…” Thomas DeQuincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

"May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault." Numbers 15:26

It’s 1963’s: your red loveliness,
Which makes fall’s jumping trees all jump jealously. 
   Ridicule triples disbelieving;
      Double-leaf bascule: too honest by half. 
The truest dreams rebel against sciences. 
A perfect Godsend, fear is contagious 
   And trust a Rall-type vector. Streetcar
      Benefits run on your risks like meerkats. 
Your choriambic heart pulled the old switcheroo 
On Zubenelgenubi. That viaduct
   We called the Lovejoy Ramp pretended
      Nature had other ideas and powers. 
At dawn the night prostrates itself eagerly. 
The only sinner in what’s unnatural 
   Checks out the ass on transit, whipping 
      (Irony of ironies!) all things commanded. 

Return to Journal

Jake Sheff is a pediatrician and veteran of the US Air Force. He’s married with a daughter and several pets. Poems and short stories of Jake’s have been published widely. Some have even been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing). A full-length collection of formal poetry, “A Kiss to Betray the Universe,” is available from White Violet Press.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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