Betsy Wheeler

Betsy Wheeler
I N   A N   E F F O R T   TO

And what if I just did it, sliced
open my throat and let it bleed
wide a smile on fire, seething
would it change the world?

And what if I threw open wide all my
doors and the flooding rivers
entered to fill my darkness would
it cool the earth’s temperature?

And what if, wild and stallion breathing
I came onto you strong, knee-straddled
over your body, would I
disrupt the earth’s tilt?

And if I finally flung my deadly body
over your sparkling doorstep, if I welcomed
myself into your shiny neighborhood
wearing my queerest cap, would I

revolutionize the suburbs?
And if I had the courage to really step
ever so beautifully, to hang up my saddle
and go barefoot with confidence, into

that sunlit field and scream ever so
quietly: Thank you. To nobody but rather
everyone in particular
would I change my life?

Despite myself the earth is turning
at a rate of 467 meters per second,
and my heart is beating at a somewhat
faster rate of 191 beats per minute.

I haven’t died yet.

I haven’t saved anyone else trying harder to die.

I am living and feeling my 89 decibels of hurt
like there’s a fucking hurricane train racing
up my throat in an effort to raise my ground.

In an effort to raise consciousness, that sleeping snake.

Disrupting that special want-not-to-live feeling.

Would I be me, but softer.
Would I be what I know is possible, without fail.
Would I live bigger, harder, faster, stronger, la la la

      la la la       la

Without effort, I’m picking up this baby goat
and starting my own private parade.


Betsy Wheeler is the author of Loud Dreaming in a Quiet Room, forthcoming from The National Poetry Review Press, and the chapbook Start Here, published by Small Anchor Press. She is editor and publisher of the chapbook press Pilot Books, and Managing Director of the Juniper Summer Writing Institute.

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