Arts & Culture / Convergence / Health / Politics / Vol. 2 No. 3


Nicole Peyrafitte, KA Kingston

Image Credit: Nicole Peyrafitte, KA Kingston (2019). Courtesy of the artist.

A Shelter Is Not Necessarily An Island
as title for something cogent right now
comes to mind & brings to mind
Eric Mottram’s 1971 book
                        Shelter Island & The Remaining World
             so now is shelter
the opposite of the
                                  “remaining world”
— when the remaining world is
helter-skelter (late 16th century adverb: a rhyming jingle of unknown origin,
perhaps symbolic of running feet or from Middle English skelte ‘hasten’) —
            or not? No,
shelter is island
            island is always plural
is always already part of
multiplicity, an archipelago
“a series of sound groups                a local thrush
                        chickadees at their red plastic spinning bins
                        active for dark brown striped white sunflower seeds
gull’s white craa and cree low over wrinkling shore planes” (E.M. Shelter Island)


So what is there left
except for the light
of a watery sun slanting
through clouds,

some cars, some runners
all wearing masks except
for those three in a circle
(what is a circle of three?)

(( there is
no way of
squaring that one
except as the four-line
stanza, given ta’wil of first stanza now
in need of being broken up))

based on 6 feet distance
(or lines in stanza closeness)
who are smoking in concert
and that 5-kid family of
orthodox Jews rushing toward

the pier and maybe the water
will part & they can
escape the plagues of New York
— no pharaoh will chase them to no paradise.



This morning’s birds,
no owl in Owl’s Head Park,
             6 or more
Northern Flickers (my first sighting
after Nicole’s excited reports)
the usual mess of robins,
my gaggles of sparrows, some
common house, some white-
throated, some chirping balls
of white bellies stuck out &
red-brown Mohawks aimed at
the rising sun,
                          the usual array of doves, never think of calling
them mourning, in or
out of same, they’re just a
bit sad,
             but then a ring of doves
with added capitals in English
but without these in the Arabic
tawq al-hamanah is
a major treatise on love
by Ibn Hazm
(to be looked into
when home-in-shelter from
all too rare
dawn birding


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