Betsy Wheeler: Limitations of
Solo Play
& Jazz Hands

Limitations of Solo Play

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for Arlo

                                 Lean-to tree branches form

dinosaur faces

                 a bird wearing moon boots

lizard nose in a hollow constellation of leaf-stars.

Mama carries the white morning in a woven basket
strapped to her back. Meant for canoeing.
Fashioned for a toddler’s haul. Her hair cut short.

Body targets

                 bull’s eyes           can you catch the toss

Ambitious twigs rooting

                                                 upwards, flying, charged

as if by static                      what
                                                            is your business here

Stillness, the child is napping, sing HOSANNA
meaning we can go to the pool and tool
around in circles with plastic sea turtles in hands.

Blueberry mascarpone sky

                              his Italian father                       mama’s

birdlike capabilities             pitting cherries

               for her little bird

The sky turned hot and soupy, cicadas raise
tunes in defeat. I raise my hands in the pool
Is this fun? I ask the boy and he says yes.

Jazz Hands

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A brash of cicadas wind themselves tight—
          breathing or brushing.
To count
          or not to count
their escalating confidence, braggadocio
          of artistry all
tumblish and getting tied
          around themselves in quarter notes.

Coltrane’s house
          a simultaneous conflict of aural interests—
a different kind of tying
          and being tied up, they say caught up
in the music.
A net not noticed.

I want to alter my body.
I want to alter my mind to the clearness between A and F.
I am a curious mind who wants to know.
I want to be here when there, there when here.
I thank god all night but still tie up my camel.
I make a sun in that little pitcher.
In search of always morning, in love supreme.


ART: Teri Frame, Line Kallmayer

FICTION: Matt Dojny, Jessica Halliday, Corey Zeller

NONFICTION: Brandel France de Bravo, Line Kallmayer, Ben Merriman, Nicole Walker

POETRY: Mary Jo Bang, Sam Cha, Ching-In Chen, Natalie Eilbert, John Estes, Jessica Fjeld, Margaret LeMay, Nina Puro, Lauren Russell, Dara-Lyn Shrager, Donna Stonecipher, Henry Walters, Kerri Webster, Betsy Wheeler

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