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

opulent room 1

Modest for a Dictator

IRINA HRINOSCHI
They were executed in winter: Nicolae Ceaușescu, and his wife Elena, who was also shot, but in people’s minds this was secondary to her being an insufferable pseudo-intellectual who loved fur coats. And their children, Nicu, Zoe and Valentin, spared during the 1989 Revolution.

white mailbox on the side of a road

A Road, the Sun

CAROLYN KUEBLER
The warmth of the sun, her skin warming up too. Yes, this is it, she says. I have always been and will always be this way. But what way is this? Is it happiness?

A tree growing in a bucket. Twisted branches spiral upward from the large green basin the tree sits in. It's a sunny day in the woods.

Ugly Trees

HEATHER E. GOODMAN
We have a really ugly sugar maple in our front yard. Yard is a euphemism for dirt and weeds. Dirt is a euphemism for clay and rocks. Weeds is a euphemism for invasive species and exhaustion. But we love this ugly tree.