Shelby Handler

Shelby Handler is a writer and performer whose work explores ritual, queerness and an endless search for home. Winner of the 2011 Charlotte Paul Reese Fiction Award, Shelby’s work has appeared in Mare Nostrum, The Legendary, 4Culture’s Poetry On Buses, and the anthology We Will Be Shelter: Poems for Survival. Shelby is a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Artists and Cultural Workers Council, an alumnus of Artist Trust’s EDGE Program and recipient of the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture smART ventures grant. Shelby currently works at Arts Corps running Youth Speaks Seattle, the city’s premier youth spoken word program.





watching max the dog on his first dog birthday

eat a raw duck egg out of its shell. punctured by paw


and sucked out of an aperture the size of a dime. canary-

yellow yolk smeared all over his snout like he ate light


right out of a pinhole camera. we celebrate the sun

spinning around him, just like we do for humans. we chase


that great fire dogs orbit. we count time with its heat

and multiply by seven for dog years. we harvest its light


for a snapshot. we glow and it won’t last. so,

our lambent throats sing in rings around this young fire dog


as he pokes his paw on a second egg and slurps a viscous star

out of that unknowable darkness

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