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Jake Sheff: The Sweet Life

Image: Unsplash, downloaded ( 31.7.2021.

Rondo Stanzas in the Ritornello Form (A Dinner Out with my Family)

“Solomon had answers for all her questions; there was nothing that Solomon did not know, nothing to which he could not give her an answer.” 2 Chronicles 9:2

My daughter orders chili rellenos, spies

The crayons and kids’ menu she’s too big for.

Her labor: yoke the salsa’s hottest spice.

Is it Alcmena’s son or me I dig for

When time hides safely in a sacrifice?

My wife cuts her burrito, finds oblique

And liquid-like works best. Am I a traitor

If she’s Queen Alcestis, and I’m just some geek?

Chorizo pulls rank. Time, beauty’s arbitrator,

Do you serve chronic gratitude with steak?

The final poem has not been written yet:

The waitress fills my glass with water, miracles

Fill windows with tulips by Jeff Koons, regret

Still turns my errors into funny mirror-balls.

My daughter is the future’s estafette;

“My horse sprang from some Gorgon’s neck,” she’d say,

If she was not so busy with her tostada.

I see her fire’s thirst. In my mind’s fray,

“You don’t need a doctor for boo-boos, just dada,”

I hear in my wife’s voice. Gray minutes gray

The hours; when looking at infinity

You miss a lot. “Abolish strife!” Melampus,

What animal cries that? (If life could be

This sweet each evening…) In dawn’s fiery tempest,

Among the moon’s fraternal craters: me.

About the Author: Jake Sheff is a pediatrician in Oregon and veteran of the US Air Force. He's married with a daughter and whole lot of pets. Poems of Jake’s are in Radius, The Ekphrastic Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Cossack Review and elsewhere. He won 1st place in the 2017 SFPA speculative poetry contest and a Laureate's Choice prize in the 2019 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest. Past poems and short stories have 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 forthcoming from White Violet Press.


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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