Issue 19 | Summer 2017


There is no happy and
there is no ending,
just gilded loss
/ muddy return.

Did you think the plot
was pregnancy?
That this season finale
would resolve on a woman
propped in a hospital bed,
laugh track flowing
into cooing? Spring beauty
swaddled in her arms? Could
happen / not like that. Maybe,
since time went strange,
the grown figment already sulks
in a parked sedan,
acne blooming on their cheek.
Maybe her in / fertility
is not the watershed.

Oh, she looked
and understood the stick’s
hieroglyphic prediction.
Its word was not conclusion.

She is a fiction
to herself. Many
morphologies are possible.
Differences matter /
differences are carried
downriver. Next
twist: marry key
to lock, since seeking’s
all a person’s got. She will
fall and climb, fail
and try. It may be fine.

Filed under: Poetry

Lesley Wheeler’s chapbook Propagation is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in fall 2017. Previous collections include Radioland and The Receptionist and Other Tales. Her poems and essays appear in Ecotone, Crab Orchard Review, Notre Dame Review, and other journals, and she blogs about poetry at She teaches at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.