Tyler Robert Sheldon


River’s Parable of Self


The fisher who reels up a catch
in early morning’s net winds different parts
of self into himself. The fish
has known this moment its whole life,
and is not afraid because nets are not afraid.
The river eddies around them all
and catches them, and is also caught.



Rivers move mostly one way at once
to meet other parts of themselves
they already know.



Whirlpools are rivers
remembering themselves.



Labrador’s Blues


It’s time for you to listen.

No matter how much you cavort
about on both legs, you still
must understand: these walks
are not a joke.

While I’m at it the truck cab
no longer smells of orange slices.
Rides sting for this empty promise.
You must understand my lust for these,
currency backed by open windows.

Does it make sense to say only
vet, when the time comes?
Far more wrenching to ask for the park
and be given a cold thermometer.
Tell it straight. I can take it.

Everybody else knows it:
yard holes prevent gopher attacks.
Perhaps I haven’t made this clear:
You are only safe because of me.

Shedding is our best answer
to human aesthetics, which
while well-intentioned are flawed
at best. An open mind can often help.

It is now and forever time
.for you to listen.


Until the Eclipse


Nobody had ever turned lead into gold
(though maybe that was just the lightning)

That clay tablet from Syria, found by NASA,
was just a hunk of earth with gouges
which held no clues of our long knowledge
about space-stuff that wished, however
benignly, to black out the sun

Einstein labored in relative obscurity
revolutionizing the universe
for himself, dammit
when nobody would listen

Some people didn’t even believe
that Corona wasn’t just good beer

And I had never seen fingernails of sun
cut down through trees and float
the pavement: little ships, shapes

only the moon should make
when obscured by a planet much like
itself, on which I perch and watch
this fractured labyrinth, this
covered kaleidoscope of light.






Tyler Robert Sheldon is Associate Reviewer and a contributing writer for MockingHeart Review. His newest books are Driving Together (Meadowlark Books, 2018) and Consolation Prize (Finishing Line Press, 2018). He received the 2016 Charles E. Walton Essay Award and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Pleiades, Quiddity, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and other venues. Sheldon holds an MA in English from Emporia State University and is an MFA candidate at McNeese State University. He lives in Baton Rouge.