Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Crannóg, Light, Rattle, and other places. He is working on a bestiary.
The Gilded Void
A monkey with a dash of shark, its airs are often aped;
its soul has heavy curtains, and it keeps its conscience draped.
Its thoughts are closely guarded but its feelings have escaped.
Its hide, gilt-edged, is scaly, while its blood is palely blue.
It laughs, but never gaily: as it grins, it gives a view
of teeth like small stilettos plus a kitchen knife or two.
Its lamprey tongue’s a burglar. Its veins are berged with ice.
Its posture’s posed, and poised. It postulates the poor are nice,
and couldn’t love them more than when it’s carving off a slice.