Three Poems by D. C. Wiltshire

“I am the outcast”

I am the outcast of the day
aloft on shrill gusts
up near the quiet cirrus,
who dangle their legs in my long, thick hair
that tickles in breezing past. Behold the shepherd whose sheep go home
each to his own den, away from the wind,
and I to my humble abode, too small
to house them all. I who stand creekside
and bemoan the dinner menu:
potatoes, potatoes, always potatoes,
cheap and boiled; I am the lips who dream
of salt and crispy flesh that bobs
in the slow drench of
glossy fat. I am the tillage dry and split
like baked earthen August, when no rain
chills the roots, and death comes not from lack
but from wanting.


“My father’s chair”

His face, chest, and hands
are a light olive green, and straight-backed,
with impressive posture;
he juts his lap forth
with strong wooden bones,
offering a place. He does not do this
out of obligation, a purpose
given him by oblivious tenants.
He does this out of pity, since others’ lives
are liquid, in sore need
of a mold in which to pour themselves.
He stands short, but firm,
most of his life in waiting, proudly patient,
his gaze thick and impenetrable.

He had only one confidant and friend,
one shipmate through the simple hours: and
he mourns today the secret bliss
of crayons left within the crease,
warm velvet curls that claimed
the square of light at four o’clock,
before the early dusk
in late December. Long ago: she died
when I was three.


“City traffic”

“Researchers at the University of Oulu in Finland have discovered cockroaches … have the ability to capture what are essentially long-exposure photographs in their heads, giving them the ability to see in what would be pitch black to most other creatures.”

What a brave thing a skyscraper is
to have its eyes plucked out
over and over again, when a single soul
might draw the blinds
from the raining stars outside
and prying, peeping ears and minds
of ten million neighbors.
Except for the kingly cockroach
who does not need the sun to see,
but corrals in furry hands stray motes of light,
a Little Red Riding Hood in woven creel,
a time-lapse camera sight, one gasp of the
still and poised,
night horizon:
bright at the thundering of sleepless soles below,
and streaked at the starry crest.

D.C. Wiltshire is a sometime queer poet, preacher, and chaplain living in Durham, NC. He has poems published or forthcoming in OxMag, Common Ground Review, and The Cincinnati Review.

Seth Copeland
Seth Copeland

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