You are in the diode archives v6n2



May Anne

Do you want to have a baby she said, he said I do not
it was dawn again, as if all the guts inside us. We went
wrapped up like pillowcases to the brook
with the cold, your blood there’d
come spitting up. While washing
your palms in the water
it went down with it. Still are young. We alone
saw it mix into the life and silt
away. Your life. To pause. That. Not in the end
the stones would drug us deeper
                                                         and the water clear by them.



On parade at the church I could catch the cotton lilies I was a boy,

I was just a boy then, those wafers melting on my tongue. Up at the altar the dead thing was breathing and I saw it but it didn’t believe in alms, didn’t hear my voice

and I couldn’t really say it right. How do you claim that clear-like Jesus wasn’t much more than wood, which is just as obvious

to any young boy as to god. God, he said, wasn’t open like for cheeseburgers, or your silly wishes. Just then the dead thing breathed, I swear

I saw the movement, I saw it, the blue cotton man rose up. They were all drinking wine I think,

or something, they weren’t looking. Some tremor like angels in their eyes. He speaks, Come to be Holy

and don’t turn anyone away and don’t forget to collect that from them so easy to hinder, so easy to drop to the bottom of the stream,

all that gold like fish eyes. There are a few chances now: gut the fish when you collect them early, offer their bones to the man

for forgiveness,

or just clink them away with coins at the bottom of the barrel. Everyone costs money to forget. Anyways back at the church

it was coming noon before she would let me go and in the service the yellow lights were turning into angels so I was afraid,

I was afraid so I grabbed for her. He kept asking for money but that isn’t the way an honest man makes a living,  I knew, and they cried so loud

the gold and the glass the gold and the glass and the smell of the dead,

it were enough for a boy, it were enough to imagine the trout throwing their bodies at us as some kind of offering, some kind of payment


for this earth and our troubles. But fish bones aren’t the right way to build a ship or a church like this one

and anyways we were so much poorer than ever let on, even us the children, the poorest and the most afraid. A body has a day of chances under its ribs

and he used up the last of them, and the eaves did glow golden like the ribs of his belly.  


Danielle Wheeler’s book of poems was recently named a finalist for the 2013 Ahsahta Press Sawtooth Poetry Prize. Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in Caketrian, elimae, decomP, Softblow, and elsewhere. She recently graduated from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where she was the 2010-2011 Rona Jaffe Fellow in Poetry.  She currently lives and teaches in the South.