Welcome to Petropolis
by Charles Gillispie
Inside the pet shop,
that stink by the door could be ferrets
or another school shooting.
the whole mood of this city
is trapped in a wire cage
rolled up in cedar chips
soaked in urine.
I’m in line to buy grubs for a turtle
who disappeared eighteen months ago---
he’s back from exile
with a new crack in his shell
which I read over and over again
like a headline
but never learn anything .
The boy beside me learns how to hold his first snake.
He is quiet as a glass of water
as the python wraps around his arm.
The clerk who teaches him is pink
and round as the frozen mice he’ll feed the snake.
Her voice clicks through channels like a television,
which the boy ignores
but not the snake squeezing his arm
and not her cleavage, just at eye level.
About the Author
Charles Gillispie is a counselor who lives in Tucson, AZ. His first book of poems, _The Way We Go On_ was published by the Backwaters Press in 2010. He has recently published poems in _December_, Journal of Poetry Therapy_, and _Presence_.