Self Portrait as Fake Saint with Wheel

Self Portrait as Fake Saint with Wheel

Poem by Elizabeth Langemak
Art by Jeff Crouch and Sheila Murphy

It is possible to love something loving,

which was how I felt when I saw

my first wheel: its crush on the mud,

rutted suggestions to fields, how it spun

an invisible center, singing siren

to his fingers. Temptress forbidder.

In the wake of my father’s cart, sticks

and limbs folded and snapped, mothers

fit children to chests, the neighbor’s dog

collapsed one morning as it slept. I loved

it for this, loved the cool cost equation,

its guiltless error in motion,

loved it loving its love most. It stole

what it had, got away in broad daylight.

At the end, laced to its frame

with my own shattered arms, my fibula,

tibia loose like coins in the sack

of my skin, they say I got what was coming,

the depth of my pain redeemed their blank

savings, longer days in the field. Laced

to the wheel by my deeds, they say I forgave

it and it forgave me, that as the coup de grace

broke over my chest I spoke a vision

of loving, but really I saw my father’s cart

bump and lift through the drive, take me

once more, and the wheel as it passed was both

smitten and smite, pressed the gravel to speak,

turned tracks through the heart of the road.

  1. Such a simple thing to generate so much emotion and so many words. But a delightful read! I really had not thought of the wheel in this way, and it’s that what it’s suppose to do? I liked it very much.

  2. nicely done….love the wheel. I will use your poem for inspiration for Big Tent Poetry and
    Read Write Poetry. Thanks for sharing Elizabeth

  3. Thanks Wayne! Hope you enjoy the site :)

  4. Oh, what a _fabulous_ first line. And “heart of the road” evokes so much.

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