Ed Shacklee

Spider on a Pillow

You’re not the first damn fool to dare the climb,
and maybe not the last to find this bed
a brief detour, or just a waste of time
as instincts, blindly followed, are misled.

A few have been entangled here, and yet
you’ll find the ties that bind can break or fray –
departed lovers prove that, so forget
your clingy strategies to make them stay.

What self-delusive urge could make you spin
a web for catching pillows, wind and dust?
I’d laugh, except this fix I find you in
resembles hopes I cherished that went bust,

for what we seek is seldom what it seems.
So few find comfort in the land of dreams.

Riddle with the Wrong Answer

A horn of plenty in reverse,
penance making sinners worse,

correction that cements the flaw,
crime that masquerades as law,

infectious bandage on the sore,
hole that’s half revolving door;

a mousetrap built for breeding mice –
prison’s a perverse device.

© Ed Shacklee

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. His poems have appeared in Angle, Kin Poetry Journal, Light Quarterly, Lucid Rhythms, and Per Contra, among other places. He is working on a bestiary.

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