Jake Sheff

Fort Stevens Can Do Nothing Right with Rigel on our Side

“Evil you brought about, brother, when you opened up that bag,
for often from a bag comes bad advice.
You’d have had a mind, Hamdir, if you’d known how to think;
Much is lacking in a man when he lacks any common sense.”
                             Lay of Hamdir, from The Poetic Edda

What’s an act of God? The troll with a sunburned heart
And muddy lament is asking for a friend. The sky
Pulls from their holsters the holstered storm clouds.

The hours skinny dip in Coffenbury Lake; they have
Dark hair. Seagulls know, but cannot tell me all the news
When they’re still hard up in the air. It’s important

That I know it, but the Pacific Ocean makes the other
Side seem like no side at all. Fairies line the forest’s
Pockets with mystery, and I’m the type who’d rather see

The other side of a wall. I went to the forest, to the cant
Repeated by a steady stream of new faces, to hear
The birth of time; the birth of time I heard. It’s important

That you hear it, but impossible to see, when Clatsop
Spit has Vega on its side. Career trespassers sell
Their SIM cards at St. Peter’s gate and here. Important

News is not like hepatitis, is it? A thousand barnacle-
Encrusted inconveniences are visible on the Peter
Iredale wreck. It laughs at time like an open casket.

The gnomes were taught great poetry arrests the great,
So why do they put bay leaves on their gunwales
When the moon is full? It’s important that I know,

But all the doves in Oregon have come to see the mouth
Of the Columbia River, and two or three are spitting
Images of Noah’s! An elf with the same beliefs its teenage

Self decided on is flyting; its memories of Karakorum
Are never good enough to win. In World War II,
A series of dreams brought good poetry (which inspires

Good) to the mouth of the Columbia River. It’s important
To know that knowing more than Capella, when it shines
On the Rhine, will always be impossible if you have

Twin gods that are always crying, “If life could only make
More sense!” At 542 acres, the area of Fort Stevens
State Park is large enough to hold the wind-dried and

Weather-eyed face of forgiveness, along with the one
Big thing the hedgehog knows. And it has one last
Chance to wear Adidas on the beach at Fort Stevens.

Jake Sheff is a pediatrician in Oregon and veteran of the US Air Force. He’s married with a daughter and whole lot of pets. Poems of Jake’s are in Radius, The Ekphrastic Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Cossack Review and elsewhere. He won 1st place in the 2017 SFPA speculative poetry contest and a Laureate’s Choice prize in the 2019 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest. Past poems and short stories have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing), and a full-length collection of formal poetry, “A Kiss to Betray the Universe,” is available from White Violet Press.