“Castle Recursion” and “Castle Omnipresence”

Issue 46 by Shyla Shehan

“Castle Recursion” and “Castle Omnipresence”

Castle Recursion

On Tuesday

I wake early and fix breakfast

turn over the hourglass on the table

Out the door as chauffeur by 7:30

Personal trainer and nutritionist at 8:30

Errand maid at 9:30

Data Engineer from 10:30 to 3

I want to quit my job

Chauffeur again at 3

Taskmaster of homework from 4 to 5

not enough time to learn Spanish

Short order Chef at 5

Maid again at 6

Girlfriend from 7 to 9

not enough energy to learn

the language of love

dead to the world at 10

All the sand gone again

. . .

On Wednesday

I sleep till ten

A friend stops by for lunch

We sip from full cups

and let our legs dangle

in the swimming pool

She asks if I do this every day

and I wonder why not

There is a stream behind us

lullaby sound of water

rushing over rocks

and a sweet breeze urges

go back to bed

He tells me I can quit my job

spend hours in the garden turning dirt

and tending to the vegetables

till my arms are stained yellow

past my elbows

pungent smell of tomato vine flesh

lingering on my fingertips for hours

. . .

On Thursday

the sink is bottomless with dishes

Beds have unmade themselves again

Hungry fish in pond and stream bubble up

like a boiling pot

Cats with their fat naps

are awake and fighting again

Tile in the master bath is cracked

and the water refuses to drain

I spend four hours on the floor

exhausted by two in the afternoon

Cats are fighting again

I need to find the right tool

and screws for a project

Find three more projects instead

I need to quit my job

. . .

On Friday afternoon

I walk the castle grounds

Iris and Lilies and Coreopsis Moonbeam

take turns worshiping the sun

My garden is a colossal mass

of climbing vegetables

As zinnias and marigolds are my witnesses

the tomato plants are now 7 feet tall

Soon the fruit will drag their branches

to the ground

Ripened red popping

amidst all that green

I don’t want to miss a minute of this

I’ll probably quit my job

In the evening the Castle master comes home

from business and our words collide

in a rush of news from the day

A Venn diagram that intersects

at cats and children and our future

We’re planning an outing and a party

We’re scheming about tomorrow

We’re falling asleep

in the middle of sentences

. . .

On Sunday

we sleep past 8

Wake with eager arms and hands

Linger huddled in conversations

and much-needed affection

We have breakfast until noon

Venture out into the world

on one of our many steeds

in search of treasure

. . .

On Monday

I conspire with the prince and the princess

Comforted by having someone

to talk to about a plan

I begin again in the kitchen

and check the grocery list

before I leave for the market

I re-organize the pantry

and check our schedule for appointments

Stand at the sink and worry

I’m not pulling my weight here

Perhaps I should get a job

This afternoon I lie down

in the greenhouse with the cats

and listen to Arcade Fire again

Among the rocks

stacked neatly in pots

against a far wall

is an orchid in bloom.

Castle Omnipresence

This place is not necessarily haunted; it is inhabited by a force.

A dark chill loitering in the vacant basement,

conversing with the termites who are otherwise occupied with their colony plans.

Dense fog hangs in the garden

when the rest of the houses on the block are lit up by sun.

Small creatures scurry with frantic claws that scrape wood inside the ceiling

above the master bed. I pull the blankets tighter around me

and wait for larger predatory claws that follow.

Strange artifacts have been placed carefully throughout the house.

When asked, the current owner explains that they were there when he moved in. Yet,

new antiques appear almost weekly. The force feels ever-present—observing

but never interfering in our daily lives.

It reminds me of something I heard about God—supernatural

and subject to mood swings and unnatural occurrences.

I wonder if I should offer gifts

or learn how to pray.

About the Author

Shyla Shehan

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Shyla Shehan is an analytical Virgo who holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska where she received an American Academy of Poets Prize in 2020. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gyroscope Review, Wild Roof Journal, Raw Art Review, Tempered Ruins Press, Verses from the Plains: A Poetry Collection, and elsewhere. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband, children, and four wily cats. Shyla spends most days tending to a healthy household and is pleased with her role as Managing Editor for The Good Life Review. She enjoys gardening, road trips, and blogging from her treadmill. All this and more at shylashehan.com.