Helen Wickes


I was born in the year of the rat,
under the archer’s constellation,
in a house on a hill, the river down below,
and a meadow full of horses, to which,
despite distance and time, I go tethered
my live-long days, fire blessed,
metal weakened, my temperament’s curse—
once called the black bile—
fear death by drowning and life
by love, am at the age they call, oh . . .
my volume and density,
not a feather on the expanding galaxy’s
latest exhale, this gender’s called other,
my beloved’s the answer, the children
are many, they are stars of a winter night,
and as for religion—I’m a droplet
on the spider’s wide-flung web,
in old Norse my name means
where we go hereafter, from the German,
she who lords over the same, but in old Greek,
it’s the torch of flaming oil,
and rags on a stick, so you can see
your way there and back.

Helen Wickes
Resumé is from In Search of Landscape (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2007).