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whale doctor

Kip Shanks

a blue whale

circles the world

trade center like always.

porpoises are mammals,

i always forget.

they are the only

other mammal

who can modulate

their breathing. i wonder

if like us they hold

breath, pretending

they haven’t seen

lockdown before.

when eugene's dick is in me

it’s like shoving

your hand deep into

the third eye of

stephen malkmus and

shaking hands with

his psyche. it’s almost

like you’ll never

wait in line again.

there is something

about breathing there. anyway,

i wonder what

the parking lots

are up to? i only want

to be someplace

where i forget

to modulate

until grocery lists,

sunday, pregnant with

the hours of garage

lawn chair sitting.

when eugene’s dick

is in me i get

to forget about

most things

for a while.

it’s very different

to get swallowed

by a whale with teeth

than by one without,

the radio says

in the summer.

when i was five

i wanted to be

a whale doctor. now

i know i have my own

expanse of belly

to die in. i only want

to write blue

or dream of writing blue

the way photos on film

recall one ocean

or another.

i too can recall vasts

of not enoughness.

like the night

we drove right into

the drunk driving

checkpoint after

white wine

and coke at stevie’s.

while old tv’s burned

kitty litter broken glass

irish dive bar pastorals.

how we hid under blankets

in the back seat

the way we learned

to sneak into theme parks.

i remember it was july.

i remember the fireworks

we pressed like flowers

between old receipts.

i remember how

during this we sang.

Kip Shanks is a poet from New Jersey, is currently an M.F.A candidate in poetry at the University of South Carolina. Their writing can be found in Erase the Patriarchy (University of Hell Press), Divine Feminist Anthology (Get Fresh Books, Forthcoming), VICE, and various NJ zines. In another life, they’d be a skywriting pilot, getting paid to draw hearts in the sky. You can find them on Instagram @kipshanks.

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