(Winner of The Missouri Review Editors’ Prize)


For twelve million years in an interstellar cloud,

a steadfast electron rode around

the velodrome of its atom, & for eons, too,

a tight nucleus orbited the axis of itself.


Then suitcase wheels turned down Wolf-Dietrich

Strasse. Bicycle wheels flashed below a girl.

She stands to pedal. Under the red wheelbarrow,

in rain, Ezekiel’s fire trundles through mud. 


A whisper is a wheel, & translation, time turning

away from notions of an isolate self. I dreamt you

wheeled two lazy fingers round my breast,

amid billows & waves, cotton worn so thin


we tear it with the mere turn of our bodies, one

around the other. Unseen, minute whirlwinds

tumble down both arms of a pianist, & the struck

strings set wheels to the air they travel.


A striding boat unwinds lines of the fishers’ reels,

perhaps is a tumbleweed pushed ahead of a storm,

my typewriter’s carriage-return & ribbon spools,

gyres of a coming poem, & thunder, heavenly


weight, from the cleft spark rolls its bloom.

Like revolutions of waves twisting up the sands

& of the shores spinning back away, atria

& ventricles wheel tides of restive blood.


Even the rolling-pin of your diaphragm & rib,

an empty bottle pushed along our street by wind,

twirls under it the glassy shadow, sounding

praises of being hollow & on its way.


Carnival wobble, a Frisbee loosed by a snap

of the wrist—Catch, if you can! If the wheel’s an electron,

a pirouette, momentum of spin, & if by the not-yet

it’s lured to leap & change direction—


Quantum release!  A hospital’s revolving door

turns out a brand new guest. She’s carried

in tangible arms. Turned, turning, we’re turning

& tangent, & suddenly this steep hill


is awheel under the children’s escaping ball, timber

rotates dark surf, earth’s both spindle

& a spoke spun round the sun, & our galaxy’s

a mixing-wheel of light’s changeling, love.