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Audio: Read by the author. 


1. Hurt

The spaded earth spurts in fury:
a geyser of yellow jackets torque  

from their lair. You come inside, 
stung, from the dervish 

of small commas
they make of the air. 

2. Coda

You of the thrumming
pierced ear, come here— 

let me compose these wishbone
tweezers in the air 

above the eyelash dash that breaks
the line of your ear. 

In the next room
our daughter, tiptoed upon  

her rickety blue chair,
composes one finger in the air, 

choosing a black or white key
upon which to alight. 

Make a wish.

Impossible to say (a lesson
in touch) who stings who. 



Chelsea Wagenaar’s most recent poetry collection is The Spinning Place (Southern Indiana Review), winner of the Michael Waters Prize. Her first collection, Mercy Spurs the Bone (Anhinga), was selected by Philip Levine for the 2013 Philip Levine Prize. She teaches at Valparaiso University.  

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