By D.C. Wiltshire

a 5k. They are running paper numbers, they
that seem gently waxed,
pinned to taut stomachs

to wave at passersby. Perfect and false.
You are too freshly shaven; you did not wake
at six for the race,

but at five to tell the lie
you were born hairless. It’s a careful
choreography, to lead your loves

in the sober dance you’d choose.
I see you in tea leaves,
in parchment, the golden wrinkles

of paper as it ages, curls and crisps
around typeset black letters,
bleeding into postal marks. “A list of politicians’ lies,”

published by the Office of War Information,
1942, that you read voraciously,
as though we do not each curate a face,

as though you’ve believed our words
should be leaden anchors
to fix us in fine silt. I disappoint so well,

a slimy, severed piece of kelp,
who drifts away and sunward,
plaiting a ballet toward open sea.


D.C. Wiltshire is a sometime queer poet, counselor, and chaplain living in rural-ish North Carolina. He seeks and finds poetry in everyday people, places, and experiences.