Spring Rage

by Lesley Wheeler

All afternoon and evening, wrath boils
down the gutter pipe. In a sewerless
town, it foams across yards trashed
by dandelions and tiny violets,
crashes past curbs, and maps a sloping
path to creeks, polluted en route
by exhaust, soap, the ash of striving.
I am tin. I am flimsy and replaceable.
But by the coursing of anger I know
I am not clogged with leaf duff or dead
birds, I can carry a flow, I can talk
about its cool extraordinary passage.
Hollow but not nothing. A shape
that directs torrents down and down.
I want to say to the men who wrecked
my life, fixed my life, and are now
expecting gratitude: you cannot
break or repair me. But they are busy
in the clouds banging thunderheads,
directing water to fall, not understanding
how it will scorn their plans and their power,
displace who it wants, when it wants,
numerously, even if today it seems
invisibly biddable, whispering past us all.

LESLEY WHEELER’s forthcoming books are the poetry collection The State She’s In, the novel Unbecoming, and the essay collection Poetry’s Possible Worlds; previous poetry books are Radioland and the chapbook Propagation. Her work appears in Ecotone, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, and other magazines. Poetry Editor of Shenandoah, she lives in Virginia.