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written by: Shelly Norris


There is no room for an other
in this tangled bed. Last night I sat around
the table, at least five of me, drunk
and incoherent, discussing the complex
in platitudes and formulating simplistic solutions
to the answer to the Sphinx’s ancient riddle.

Many such meetings have convened---
on the set, behind the scenes, in secret
internal monologues playing through static air. 
Recently, a lithe young woman
from an unknown country was transformed
to smoke and ash inside the wicker giant;
thus, sparing her short fat twin.

Some of us now agree, we
may be nearing some resolution, which is just a word
one letter removed from sudden and radical
renunciation or the progressive rotation of heavenly
bodies. Either or both are imminent
and acceptable. At any rate, we won’t know.

Until the old woman sitting lotus on the hill
pulling thin gold chains from the world’s
largest knot manages to unravel that last
double hitch, finally undoing the labyrinth. 
Not for all time.
At least for once and again.

Shelly Norris

Shelly Norris

Shelly Norris currently resides in the woods of central Missouri with her husband John, two dogs, and seven cats. A Wyoming native, Norris began writing poetry around the age of 12. As a single mother of three sons, Norris had to concentrate on achieving an education and beginning a career to sufficiently support the family. Early in this journey it became clear that pennies from publishing poetry would not feed and shod hungry barefoot boys, so she necessarily dedicated her time and energy to building a teaching career. Meanwhile, working in the shadows grading sub-par essays, and editing for other writers, she has been slow to send forth her own writings into the cold world of rejection and possible publication in obscure volumes. One who struggled furiously with the art-life balance, Norris knew her destiny to be—like Burroughs, Bukowski, Stevens, and Wilder—a more dedicated and widely published writer later in life. While pecking away at various essays, short stories, and a couple of novels, Norris is wrestling a pile of about 100 poems into cohesive chapbooks and manuscripts embodying the vicissitudes of unrequited love and loss, dysfunctional wounds, healing quests, and the role of cats in the universal scheme.
Shelly Norris

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