- Grant Report, New Zealand
Gorse flowers yellow. Aloe redas muscle in a school diagram. Whathave I learned? The dead vanishinto the old radio. Some words of te reo,including kōrero: speech, story, to talk.A longing for directness. That Isay too much. The poems therehike through the topographyof collision (magpie and tui,continental plates). I traveledstairs and bushy zigzags fastas I dared, American listeningto a southern winter’s layers of green.I love to talk; talk uses me up.
I managed to walk downhill only,from house through campus tocity, catching rides when I shouldhave climbed. Imagine me in cross-section: blue branching veins, grainof trapezius, gray finger joints.It doesn’t really tell you what’simportant, what’s changed. Nothow a baby slept in a veiled pramoutside the German bakery, zoneof coffee perfume and mini-mudslides.Rock walls speaking in clod words.How I sidestepped those clay salvos,burnt tongue dozing in my mouth. [End Page 145]
Lesley Wheeler’s poetry collections are The Receptionist and Other Tales, a Tiptree Award Honor Book; Heterotopia, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize; and Heathen. Her poems and essays recently appeared or are forthcoming in Subtropics, the Gettysburg Review, Rattle, and Poetry, and she blogs about poetry at her website. Wheeler is the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.