The 2River View 17.3 (Spring 2013)

Philippe Shils

alone with my daughter in the house

when there are leaves

she ignores me

at the window
in the bedroom

the closest she'll get
to a tree house

i have to get in her face
to get a smile.

the winter snow
is something to look
forward to.

we'll be buried
in the neutral light.

hey hey pretty baby

woody guthrie's daughter cathy died in a fire
after he wrote her sweet simple songs
and sang them with a plaintive and pleading tone
"who's my pretty baby (hey hey pretty baby)"

lucia stops at the top of a step or a curb
and as she clutches vaguely for some help
I know that we together lost the mandate of heaven
woody and lucia and cathy and me

a dust bowl and the ceiling fan rhythm
of the locusts that persist all evening

the weather roils on

boiling heat or mean cold

I smell tangerines and taste watermelons

the chill on my tongue
the tang in my nose
and the bitter pleasure of beer

and the rocking of a child
rapid and accelerating
steady and monotonous
and without comfort
frantic and clicking and clacking

Philippe Shils is a physician assistant in Decatur, Illinois. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Alba, BODY, Elimae, Hyperlexia Journal, Rattle, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere. contact