White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Sheila Byers
Sheila Byers is a poet based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Dear Sir, Keep This Bag Away From Children, and Tropic. She is currently pursuing an MFA at the New School.

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Sheila Byers

The Amount He Holds or Can Hold


he in perfect in drawing out

foreboding bend of steel and air

and hold and rim


he washes and breaks away the larger foe

blind rock settles to the dark area

he in the river in busy review

the result of focus

of time and of


what composure does to the hunt in a dust set

he chalks the boot and pans the sediment cold

to yield or the like

the screen stretches across heavy value


he sorts and glistens until

at crescendo and at splintering

he holds the depressed lock

at bay and criticizes



Sheila Byers

how does the event end and now

discontinuous bathe or he

in infringement in perfect decline

spans the water or shrinks

Sheila Byers

Great Expectations


my father’s family name was the marsh country

my feet to which that damp cold seemed riveted

each question he tilted me over

the steeple under my feet

when the church came to itself


a fearful man, all coarse grey

to find a constable in the kitchen

the tailor had orders to the outraged majesty

so giddy I clung to him with both hands


in the meantime, a new flowered-flounce

the time for me to rise and propose

four little poodles on the mantelshelf

flowers in his mouth and each the counterpart


that I might not have astonished

a full suit of Sunday, the most beautiful jewels

me on the opposite settle

on what my hands had done



Sheila Byers

a likely young parcel of bones

kind of a family name what he gave himself when

nobody but I saw the file

and I knew that he was my convict

Sheila Byers

The Village of Lies


who binds himself with blood to the covenant

dark voice, appearing on the mountain

while delicacies firmly believed

to be of sturdy materials and the baying of

hounds, whose soft clatter is said to mark time


they to whom the village calls

sons measured against the grandeur of numbers

wash their hands twice a day

build a small fence to contain the oxen

smoke solid as wood


the underside of cotton whose origins betray

morning hammers show linens in heaps

on the lists a revelation to he who will sacrifice

and lay down the weight of a people


back to the calf and the cornerstone

camels howl as though pressed in stone

for the trove of figs and pushcarts rolling

for the begotten not made one in being

Sheila Byers



he pulls vocal cords but reels under clouds

monthslong and certain as horses eat each other

a wild void surrounds


no presence in the ox, the bear

stones sweat in the mouth and milk is sudden

crows mock his wish to lie in a great belly


a great urge to boil syrup comes upon him

as between sprawling grains the devil

and then the direction of fibers


pebbles waft sweet yeast

a hissing whisper says stand on the mountaintop

he sidles up to the laminator


a dive from a pinnacle, a dashing foot

he hauls something where there was nothing

the owl buries a serpent in sand



Copyright © Sheila Byers. White Whale Review, issue 4.2

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