Two Poems by Marta Shaffer


We are hibernating, but it’s not winter.
We are in the middle of the lake,
but we are not swimming.
We’ve made an island of a canoe.
I brought berries, nuts and plums
and you brought beer, and some poems
that I wrote. Staring out into the woods,
I wonder how many mountain lions are prowling,
scraping their huge paws against bird carcasses
on the ground. They don’t eat dead animals,
you correct me. And they’re nocturnal.
And I point out that we’re not swimming,
but we’re still in the middle of the lake.



First published in the collaborative chapbook, Five by Five. 


The pills aren’t for me: they’re for
the man who lives in my stomach,
who is hoisting up my spine with a stick
upon which he is trying to balance
the spinning plate in my head. It wobbles
like a warped record on a player.
The man’s neck hurts from always
looking up at the bottom of the plate.
The pills are to ensure he does not lose his



Marta Shaffer is completing her MA in English at California State University, Chico, where she received first place in the poetry category for the 2015 Intro Journals Project Award. She has worked as a student co-editor/poetry slush pile reader for Watershed Review. She was the winner of the haiku contest judged by Kazim Ali at the Wordspring Writing Conference in 2014. Marta has upcoming work appearing in the fall issue of The Finger, and was also a Chico News & Review finalist in the 2015 Poetry 99 contest. She cannot roll her tongue. She hails from Minnesota.


Photograph of a mountain lion in Grand Teton National Park (not at night) courtesy of the National Park Service. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s