E.B. Schnepp

The Oxford, Ohio, Decency Code


states it’s illegal for a woman to strip

in front of a man’s portrait; he feels it,

her misdemeanor, on the back of his eyelids,

her shirt hitting the floor as an ache

paints itself across his fingertips.


His eyes follow her around the room; in

and out of the picture frame. She can feel it

graze the skin of her shoulders, trace

the lines of her spine, devour the cradle

of her body from hipbones

to collar. The man in the portrait

fights against boundaries of cling

and canvas, struggling to grasp

that third dimension, that shape beyond—

he cannot hold her. She can


turn the frame to face the wall,

put it away, leave him to dust, opt

for a still life. Innocent

bowls of fruit, blustery landscape, vase,

single calla lily.


David was a woman’s name, the history books forgot


the woman who went out with her slingshot,

called the man in the moon Goliath, struck him

from the sky where he’d spend nights staring

through cracks in her blinds.


She felt his craters


burning into the skin of her shoulders

where he’d linger,

dream himself invincible

on the far side of a white heat atmosphere,


and still, he fell.


Dull and dead she buried him,

the man in the moon in the backyard,

under a tree, lunar decomposition

tangling in its roots.



I’ve never seen the ocean, but I can eulogize it


Ocean-dried, beached whales relearned their legs.

Again they walk, gape-jawed hunting


for krill that dissolved to dust years ago.

They remember the taste, clinging to the spaces


between their teeth, the exoskeleton

of all they once savored.


Unable to find it they’ll take to the air, make new

oxygen oceans in the cloud cover, adapting


to outer reaches of space; pursuing

copia depths from which they came.


E.B. Schnepp is a poet with a bad procrasti-baking habit hailing from rural Mid-Michigan who currently finds herself stranded in the flatlands of Ohio. Her work can also be found in pacificREVIEW, Paper Nautilus, and Stone Coast Review, among others.

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