White Horses on Sale for a Song

Shoshauna Shy

Shoshauna Shy delves into the impressions, surprises, contradictions and hurts of childhood and early adolescence. She confronts the constraints of growing up female, “When seated keep your ankles crossed/And moderate those giggles,” with an energetic insistence on “snip [ping] the elastic of childhood’s ruffled cuffs.” Braced by a girlfriend’s bravado, possibilities bestowed by a new nickname, and moxie “inhaled” from her mother, a scrappy sence of selfhood gathers boldness and conviction.

Shoshauna Shy is a member of the Prairie Fire Poetry Quartet, and founder of BookThatPoet.com and the program Poetry Jumps off the Shelf. She is the author of Souped-Up on the Must-Drive Syndrom released by Pudding House Publications, and Slide into Light: Poems of the Brighter Moments published by Moon Journal Press. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Cimarron Review, Slipstream, New Millennium Writings, and Poetry Daily. One of Shy’s poems “Bringing My Son to the Police Station to be Fingerprinted” was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress porgram, Poetry I80: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, launched by Billy Collins. Shy currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin and works for the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

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Faux Pas

I knew Sheila’s birthdays:
Parlor games on TV trays
The quarter chimes of a grandfather clock
When seated keep your ankles crossed
And moderate those giggles
So I begged Mother to keep me home
Claim I had a fever

Yet I still hear the clackety-slap
Of wheels on the pavement
As I rollerskated late that day
Into Sheila having carried
Five blocks on a Chinet plate
One slice of frosted allspice cake
For the ailing child