Shoshauna Shy


I particularly enjoy writing the persona poem, and the challenge of viewing the world from another person's point of view, especially when it's someone for whom I have no compassion, as is the case with Mr. Bettendorf.




The Detective Asks Me What He Said


He’d pinch the breath
from my lungs
with two fingers
if I tried to scream.
That’s what he said.
Said he’d been laid
more times than he
could count but had never
surprised a woman
in her sleep before.
I was his first.
He said that.
Said my body would be
more ready that way.
Said I should be honored
I was chosen
out of all the fillies
in first floor apartments
with their windows lifted
to let out the heat.
As if I should be patient
since he was a virgin of sorts
and it was up to me
to make this the experience
he had always wanted.
As if I ought to understand
I’d be the one to whom
he’d measure all the rest
which was a big responsibility
if I stopped to think about it.
He said that.



Mr. Bettendorf Returns From Church
and Stands At His Kitchen Window


I’ll teach her some manners, alright,
youngest daughter next door.
Six or seven already, thinks she deserves
the world on a platter.
Mouths back her mother, voice shrill
those mornings I’m trying to sleep.
Sticks her tongue out at the mailman.
Little girl could use some what-for
I heard him mutter at my letter slot.
Climbs over the woodpile
with her brothers, dress hiked up,
red panties for the sky to see.
I’ll teach her Little Suzi’s don’t
own the place.
One of these days when the streetlights
come on and she’s playing Hide ‘n Seek
in the alleyway, I’ll hoist her into
Old Dacy’s garage where he never goes.
I’ll stretch her elastic, spread those sassy thighs
wide as the Mississippi.
Then she’ll learn.
She’ll learn if she breathes a word
to anybody, the day I catch her again
will be her last.
That’s what-for, alright.
Do the mailman proud.
You can bet your Bible on that.


"The Detective Asks Me What He Said" previously published in Rattle.


shoshauna%20shy.jpgShoshauna Shy is the founder of the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program and BookThatPoet Dot Com, a one-stop-and-click resource to link poetry event coordinators with poets. Her work has been published online recently at the Apple Valley Review and The Orange Room Review, and in numerous print journals nationwide. She works for the Wisconsin Humanities Council in Madison, Wisconsin.