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Fire Wheel

By Sharmila Voorakkara

Publication Year: 2005

The poems in Fire Wheel dip in and out of family history and myth; the subjects of its poems are as varied as Helen of Troy, and Audrey, a Fury who makes her rounds at Laundromats, proclaiming the coming Armageddon. “I, too, am manmade, born of rib and / rayon,” says Audrey, “and I’ll tell you just what / your’e not above.” By turns elegiac and humorous, Fire Wheel’s poems also question the nature of family and identity. In “Poem for My Father, Once a Vacuum Cleaner Salesman, Now an Ascetic” a daughter reflects on her father, a man who abandons his family in search of spiritual enlightenment. “In which sage life/ will I find you?” she asks. “My Suicide Uncles” traces the crossing of immigrants between the old country and the new, and its sometimes devastating results. Whether the poems are about circus sideshow performers, delinquents, or mythic figures, the poems of Fire Wheel try to blend the real with the imagined, to find the place where the two worlds intersect to create an ever-shifting borderland of the self.

Published by: The University of Akron Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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The Holy Men of Jersey

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pp. 3-4

Poem to My Father, Once a Vacuum Cleaner Salesman, Now an Ascetic

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pp. 5-7

Tin Man

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pp. 8-12

My Suicide Uncles

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pp. 13-15

Dogs

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pp. 16-

In a Lost Language

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pp. 17-

Amanuensis

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pp. 18-20

Ophelia among the Fish

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pp. 21-22

Saint Breakdown

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pp. 23-26

Helen of Troy

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pp. 27-

Menelaus

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pp. 28-

Helen Tells All

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pp. 29-30

Life with Paris

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pp. 31-

Epilogue

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pp. 32-

Monologue of the Vanishing Woman

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pp. 33-

Mercy

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pp. 34-35

The World’s Smallest Woman Speaks

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pp. 36-37

Talking to Myself

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pp. 38-39

Bread and Cinderella

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pp. 40-41

Audrey, the Laundromat Fury, Says

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pp. 42-43

His

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pp. 44-45

The Orchard’s Daughter

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pp. 46-

I Grow Lighter at Night

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pp. 47-48

Cleaning

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pp. 49-50

Dusk

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pp. 51-

Reflections on Toledo, Black and White Plate, Page 518 in The History of Europe

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pp. 52-54

Luck

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pp. 55-56

For the Tattooed Man

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pp. 57-

The Beneficence of Spinning Bodies

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pp. 58-59

Palmer Method

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pp. 60-

For Herman, Second Grade

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pp. 61-

Mr. Hatpin, Meet Ms. Mannequin

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pp. 62-

Bridgewalker

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pp. 63-

Still Life with Falling Garbage

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pp. 64-66

Kicking the Dog

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pp. 67-69

They Got All-Night Muzak Playing at the Strip Mall

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pp. 70-

The Transvestite and His Mother

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pp. 71-

Brother Zero

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pp. 72-

Men in White Suits

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pp. 73-

On Atlantis

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pp. 74-76

Freaks

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pp. 77-

Man with Baseball Bat

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pp. 78-79

Ditch Music

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pp. 80-

Goat’s Head Godhead

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pp. 81-

The Monologues Men Draw

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pp. 82-

Big Sky, Little Man

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pp. 83-

The Flight of the Insurance Men

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pp. 84-

Apology

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pp. 85-86

Emissaries from Other Worlds

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pp. 87-

The Last Nickel Dance

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pp. 88-89


E-ISBN-13: 9781935603856
E-ISBN-10: 193560385x
Print-ISBN-13: 9781931968218
Print-ISBN-10: 1931968217

Page Count: 90
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Akron Series in Poetry
Series Editor Byline: Elton Glaser, Editor