Julia Shipley

Two poems from Julia Shipley’s An Animal Inside an Animal

followed by a note on the author

The Glass Eye Factory

lies near the sea in a small town
overlooking an inlet—
blink and you’ll miss it.
The place reeks of sweet acetone.
Fuming stink eyes. Better not surmise,
Isn’t it carcinogenic? as the manager
benignly opens drawers so you
can ogle his droplet-sized prizes.
Try to look the other way.
He shows you hawk and doll eyes, roly poly deer eyes—
and if they weren’t so astonishing, you’d have half a mind
to pop one in your mouth like hard candy—
eye candy. Snake eyes. Lion eyes—
a thousand eyes for you to buy,
but no supply to glamorize the hurricane’s
Cyclops, its socket seething your way, need blind.
No remedy for the weeping bull’s eye
you’ll soon be; nothing
for anything you might wish to unsee.



The Annunciations

In Connecticut in 1807: the sky booms.
New stones are strewn throughout town,

meteorites, weighing the same
as what a woman gains, carrying a child.

One fells a cow in Brazil, one bludgeons
a horse in Ohio. In Wisconsin in 1911,

heaven’s messenger punches the roof
and continues through floorboards into clay.

Some sprinkle the Philippines,
scarcely the size of rice grains.

By 1938, separate falling rocks
smash: a Pontiac, motel room, mailbox.

Then, in 1954, one pummels the left hip of voluptuous
Ms. Hodges as she reclines on a couch in Alabama.

Doctor Moody Jacobs pulls up her nighty
(discreetly) to reveal what’s been delivered.

Pictured here: They stare at the fetus-
sized bruise as if to deduce: what kind of Messiah?



The Glass Eye Factory first appeared in 32 Poems; The Annunciations first appeared in Cogzine

Julia Shipley is an arts & culture journalist and investigative reporter whose reporting has been featured in Mother Jones, NPR and Rolling Stone. Her creative work has appeared in 32 Poems, AGNI, Gettysburg Review, Plume, Orion, and Poetry. Her debut collection, The Academy of Hay (Bona Fide Books, 2014) won the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Award and was a finalist for the Vermont Book Award. Her second collection, An Animal Inside an Animal was a finalist for the Mura Award and the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Tinderbox Press.