The Chosen Ones

By PETER JAY SHIPPY

When he was 12, he was voted
Most likely to become Satan’s spawn

By the other sixth graders at Gesù
Catholic School in Northy. Lucas

Wasn’t especially impious,
Just voluble, free with his opinions,

And meekly unobservant. So why?
Why did his peers believe that Lucas

Was destined for the pits of hell?
Was it his hornlets? The two nubbins

Growing from the top of his skull?
Was it his attire?—a spiked collar,

Leather pants and his mother’s hand-
Me-down Black Sabbath tee shirts?

Or was it his random acts of pyro-
Kinesis and levitation?

When the election results were
Announced at the June graduation

His father burst and fell, hard tears
And bruised knees. He prayed for release.

So Lucas brushed off his Papa’s
Porkpie hat, and let his hare run free.

 

 

Peter Jay Shippy is the author of Thieves’ Latin, Alphaville, and How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic. He has received fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work will be included in The Best American Poetry 2012. Shippy teaches literature and creative writing at Emerson College.

The Chosen Ones

Related Posts

Coconut and Bananas

ROMANA CAPEK-HABEKOVIC
A couple of days ago my husband returned from the grocery store with a pound of bananas and a small coconut. The bananas were perfectly ripe for consumption, and I put them in a fruit basket.

A picture of the inside of a Don Quijote convenience store in Japan.

Inconvenience Store

SOPHIE DURBIN
Don Quijote makes no attempt to follow the traditional model of neat and unobtrusive conbini; its aisles were bathed in flashing lights and lined with neon signs brandishing sale prices. My head spun as I followed arrows pointing to various products, and I soon abandoned my mission to find face wash, instead pausing every few feet to gawk at gimmicks like teeth wipes and heated eye masks.

On Tenterhooks

ERICA EHRENBERG
I’m of a tautness, / as if some part of me / is further stretched / than where my outline / ends. The baby / is not sleeping, / the cord is cut / but finds its way back— / by this hook her foot / is the limb through which / I reach the world.