Buffy Shutt, Twenty-Three Ways of Looking at January

Pop of the Mitt

Lots to drag us down. These days.
Crack. The ball is causing more blisters
This year.
Stolen bases put a thrill in us
We are stretched out, freed of today.
Crack. The ball so close to netted fans.
Double play ballet.
Crack. The catcher flips himself over into the stands.
Won’t stop. Won’t stop.
Baseball is keeping us afloat.


I plagiarize my friend.
I can never locate my own words in time.
I plagiarize hers even when they turn to hot potatoes in my mouth.
I plagiarize her husband and her kids; I steal her Amazon wishlist
Buy her family gifts—beating her to it.
I plagiarize her slim waist using belts so tight I gag.
And her flirty voice.
Ordering eggs people want to fuck her.
I plagiarize her pillows, her dishes, her recipes, her garden tubs.
I plagiarize her secrets—strutting a bigger life.
I steal all the books she’s read.
I plagiarize her eyes
Close mine, letting my heart quiver
A thrilling larceny.

Minus Ten

One glass of wine takes ten minutes off your life.
I double down at twenty with a second Pinot Noir.
You know what also takes ten minutes off your life.
The I’m leaving (minus 10)
The I love you -10
The texting -10
The deleting -10
The rewriting -10
The rewriting -10
The rewriting -10
The hitting send -10
The staring at pulsing bubbles -10
Ninety minutes taken off
Until hours pile up
And years bury you.

The Stop Before

I have this friend—an-honest-to-God #metoo. No bullshit.
She shouts and flings herself around and no one wants to be with her.
I ride on the bus with her. She combs her hair the whole time.
I get out before our stop.
We work at the same place, but I don’t want to be seen coming in the door with her.
She never asks why.
She is inside her rage—she deserves her rage, earned it.
I am lost in mine too, but mine seems small next to hers
And I want to slap her for that.

Twenty-Three Ways of Looking at January

I bought a gun today and placed
it in the hand of a 9th grader in Kentucky.
The reporter rushing to the school learned
her son was the shooter.

Eleven school shootings in twenty-three
winter days. Cafeteria, parking lot, school bus,
high school, college. Dallas, New Orleans,
Winston-Salem, San Bernardino, Seattle.
We track them—if we do—on the chyron
gliding across our screens with other scores.

My neighbor comes over this morning.
She has miscalculated, needs
a gun for a Nebraska elementary school.
I hand her one before we have our coffee.

Buffy Shutt lives in Los Angeles where she writes short stories and poems. For most of her adult life, she worked in the film business marketing movies and documentaries. She is a two-time nominee for the 2017 Pushcart Award and her recent work can be found in Bird’s Thumb, Magnolia Review, RedFez, Split Lip Magazine, Califragile and Rise Up Review.

Twenty-Three Ways of Looking at January appeared in Califragile. To read more of Buffy, click here.

6 thoughts on “Buffy Shutt, Twenty-Three Ways of Looking at January

  1. Interesting pieces of poetry. Each one of it is significant in its own beauty. Thank you so much for sharing inspiration to the readers. Hope to see more from you. Keep up the good work. 😊😊😊


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