: Premortem :
an excerpt by Peter Jay Shippy
At the smart café by the sea, cocktails
Are served in test tubes. For a small gratuity
One may rent a wind-up toy to judder
Across one’s white napery. At the next table
A tin whale beaches itself on a dune
Of kosher salt. A bored child dispenses
A jigger of cranberry juice down
The leviathan’s spout. Easels and gulls
Dot the wooden pier. Fry-o-laters hiss.
Yes? The day is perfect. A pony dances
Across the bar accompanied by spoon
And coconut. A sail rises. A cloud falls?
I jiggle my keys and see myself
As a blotch in oil on an office wall.