Four Poems

By: Candice Wuehle



bolt of tulle // sublime disgrace

When you look at a soft
ness and think of neon. Prodigal
body. The pride of looking
like another century; of emotion
al chiaroscuro. Tinkling light,
cracked canvas. Memory is an accomplishment
of texture. i felt the tongue
to be an act of genius; like a letter
from a dead person, it was aged
and anachronistic if taken out of its envelope.
i felt the tongue inside me, articulation
of an antique voice. No one
is going to speak for me. vince,
no one is going to speak for me. They can
say they see what i saw but i’m
light burning backwards, the opposite of a dying
star. A chant in reverse,
articulate in its reverb
alone. A tonguing: the speech of
feeling. Translation of erotica; limit
experience of looking
at opened lips. Of talking all
the time. vince, no one is going to speak
for me.



iron triangle // cacophobia

i hope your heaven isn’t boring.
i hope you heaved your mind out far enough
to look in the mirror and see someone else
crawling behind you: gel-like, unsocketed. Essentially,
i hope their image of you didn’t become. A single head
can contain a million dark red curls,
a bloody rose garden of filament, cuticle. i dislike it
when a dead thing is repurposed
as if it is not beautiful
already. They’d have us eat our own ash.
They take one hand and spin
the spiral to convince us to dye it blonde.
vince, after i leave tell them not to turn me in
to something else. Don’t let them say I was a pretty
girl. Don’t let them make me a part of the death industrial
complex, a thingish photo
of what everyone else should want to be. As if
i meant for anything
except that my cult should stop seeing the echoes
of others; should float.




i drank water until my stomach
swelled. i lay down in the empty bath.
i let my hair fall over the lip.
i felt the dry porcelain and i argued that we never feel
the touch of what holds us. What if i needed another
to tell me how my palms
feel? i  d o. i mean, both
at once. i refuse to wring
my hands, i refuse not to relax. i invent
the texture i expect. i curl my hair in the shape
of a shell, then i find the shell. vince,
when you hold a hollow you hear your own
echo. A pulse, a seawave crumble. i do
not. i hear the cure. i touch my tongue
to the inner curl until i’m licking an original
thing. The relief
of nature does not elude me. It makes a pore,
it lets me in. i give birth
to branch, a heave
of orchid.



i could no longer  //
could not play by instinct

My heart must be a spiral
shape.  No real endpoint;
an anti-suicide note. vince,
i have a compulsion to place a
mirror on every tombstone.
A graveyard of & and —
.   Geometry has no full stops
and i am a mathematician, a light
bender. i am not a witch. i am trying
to occult nothing. You never said i was
a witch. You never said i was
a mathematician. i don’t think deterioration
exists. vince, does that make it harder
to believe in truth? i just don’t
grieve; i become the wallpaper,
i become the bark
of the tree and i don’t believe
in loss. i’m going to speak slowly
in the language of the mise en abyme, of
Spiralism. Like the memory of a concussed
angel, no need to remember what won’t
end. Grammar
unerasured, the spinning



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Candice Wuehle is the author of the full-length collection BOUND (Inside the Castle Press, forthcoming) and the chapbooks VIBE CHECK (Garden Door Press, 2018), curse words: a guide in 19 steps for aspiring transmographs (Dancing Girl Press, 2014) and EARTH*AIR*FIRE*WATER*ÆTHER (Grey Books Press, 2015). Candice currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas where she teaches creative writing and composition at the University of Kansas. Find her at


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