Shannon Sankey


In those days, we could not afford a
couch. We sat on wooden chairs til our
asses were sore, then we moved to the
floor and made extraordinary shapes.
When we found two recliners on the
street, we rocked and spun ecstatic. We
kissed our knees, knees waxy as apples,
four apples just for us. When the futon
from a catalogue came in the mail, we
threw ourselves down. We ate fifty-cent
cupcakes off the cushions, our curls
bathed in static. We lay our black
footprints up the walls. We climbed
straight out of our clothes. We ran
rapturous from the ache, ache, ache of
no soft place.


My father and I
climbed this hill
to watch the buffalo.

Make me a giant.
Make me to kiss clean
my sweet calf.

He called back to me,
the white rain running
from his young wrists.

Let me be the gull
who circled above us.
Give me her gull errands.

In the pool of his hands,
he lifted twin tadpoles
from a green fissure.

Give me the death
of sudden legs, death
of two thousand sisters.

Here, I was once
the lucky creature
he lifted in the air.

Show me this on the last day,
how he laughed with his teeth
at my untied shoes.

Shannon Sankey’s poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming at Academy of American Poets, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Barrelhouse, Sugar House Review, Storyscape, SWWIM, Visible Poetry Project, Rogue Agent, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2017 Academy of American Poets Prize. She holds an MFA from Chatham University, where she was the Whitford Fellow. She is the founder of Stranded Oak Press.