Lesley Wheeler

Could Have Done Worse

At least, when I gave my children neurodivergence,
I also gave them a sunny father and
sandy local greens. At least, among all
the students I failed to rescue, to whom I scrawled
notes illegible as wrack lines, stinking
of abandonment, a few kept writing back.
At least I tipped the waiters and cleaning staff.
At least I was polite though smiling hurt, lips
torn on serrated teeth. At least when I wished
for hurricane, I kept it to myself.
Until now. At least I loved the breakers
enough to preserve myself in brine, in the chill
of my inadequacy, flotsam never jetsam,
clinging to spars, determined, like the sea,
to keep swallowing light and shining when I could.

White Noise Machine Now With Ten Settings!

  1. Confidence Deflating
  2. Black Dog Vomiting
  3. Toilet Trying All Night to Just Swallow It
  4. Grim Reaper Tripping Over Own Robes
  5. Young People Laughing Carelessly Around Gingerbread House
  6. Termites Gnawing at Reality’s Foundation
  7. President Masticating the Constitution
  8. Rabbit’s Death Cry, or Rabbit Sex, Who Knows, With Spring Peepers
  9. The Abyss
  10. It Makes Kind of a Humming Sound

Lesley Wheeler’s books include Unbecoming, her first novel; The State She’s In, her fifth poetry collection; and Poetry’s Possible Worlds, a suite of hybrid essays. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in Massachusetts Review, The Common, Ecotone, Gettysburg Review, and other journals. Poetry Editor of Shenandoah, she lives in Virginia and blogs about poetry at lesleywheeler.org

 … return to Issue 12.3 Table of Contents.