Poetry: Lisa Wells


The Ocean

did not “break”
It was not empty.
Crystal stemware slipped

into the sink
nicked this
scattershot of blood

across my fingers’ webbing.
Irradiated wreckage slams
the sand at Pacific City

every hour the news
wraiths through the radio.
I’m not sure we’re capable

of rescue.
Tide drags flotsam deep
into the cave where

shadow chills the pale forms.
Can’t get warm.

The Anthropocence

will conclude in the forests of Ecuador;
in block 31;    in one densely tangled hectare;
in a hut      half thatched    half
corrugated steel;   in the spear
driven in the eye of the elder:  signifier
for liar.

why beholdest thou the mote
            in thy brother’s eye?
     Oh me

            of little faith,  little
lamb,   locust
               on which the gentle Baptist dined.

In Iowa I lay
a pebble in the inroad

every time I fill ‘er up
vigorously rub my mitts, but not for glee.

The Cochin Cockerel

strung up by the shanks, will not say
who’s guilty.

One hand pins his wings to his breast
while the other draws the blade

drains his thrash into a blue
plastic bucket.

Spinning, blood-spattered
ballerino in my arms

I gather him again, his umber cape
warm in my palm—
fight jerked out.

Dependably, a hood is cinched
to cover the broken gaze

bound wrist to wrist
pulse to pulse

the scaffold pledges sleep
but the feet dance on
in the clatter.

Not sure if this accounts for process, but in a nutshell I was feeling gloomy about Fukushima, our so-called broken oceans, and the opening of Ecuador’s Yasuni preserve to oil companies and wanting a someone or two to punish—other than myself, of course (first refusal.)

WellsbioLisa Wells is the author of Yeah. No. Totally. (essays) and a chapbook, BEAST. Recent work can be found in The Believer, Best New Poets, Denver Quarterly, The Iowa Review and others. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently a Writer in Residence at Yale-NUS in Singapore.