All in by Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen

by Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen

Crow’s feet. Pointing

in directions taken. All wrong.

Spring fling melted

into a slow summer tango—

a liminal romance &

you offer me ways to live:

creams and vapors,

a softer place to lay.

And as we entwine, cradled

like crabs, limbs clutching

the cardio echo of the other,

I ask if you might be kept.

And rocking, breast against breast

you confess your fear of cages.

I toy with thoughts in an adjacent room;

you are a better hostess than I,

admiring self-reflection in tall grasses,

the dandelions gone to seed,

insects, a surrounding conundrum of beauty,

cicada static: variations on a theme &

you emerge. Like a child’s

fascination with what is not within the box—

we pour ourselves into ill-fitting molds

until cracks appear.

Count the futile attempts before the clay holds

true to its design and we discover intent.

Pretense or predisposed,

prepositional and packaged like ladle and broth:

cupped hands and waiting lips

reaching for the reciprocated gift.


Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen is a poly-artist and humanitarian residing in Utah. Her poetic work has been featured in Quarterly West, Rust+Moth, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, CrabFat, Peculiar: a queer literary journal, and the anthologies Broken Atoms in Our Hands and Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She blogs sporadically at and provides regular taxi service for her four children.