Chris Shipman

Turning 24


My beard had grown long,
and the frigid cold knew
no welcome. 

It was my year,
the year of the Dog.
I read it on a giant
napkin at China Buffet,
the juggernaut cosmos
laid out before me
in an orange
crayon-colored halt. 

Outside, I saw the marquee,
its suction letters sulked
and tilted as synecdoche
snuck across the street
into the insides of traffic. 

Bring your appetite
to the China Buffet.

My father laughed at it
and squeezed my biceps,
happy as a father should
be on such an occasion.                                                                           

He would be 39 this year,
like always.  I approached
a quarter of a century,
felt indecisive about life,
about religion,
and feared deathís
black buffet plate. 

Still, when my father
told me I reminded
him of Al Pacino
in Scorpio, with my
thicket beard
and beanie cap,
I had no shame
in admitting I would

rather be Pacino
pacing across the screen,
stung with power,
when he played the devil,
and didnít necessarily lose in the end,
just remained the infamous




(Terry Wright)