Wheeler Light
Story about my Father

My father tells a story about how we are
Cherokee which isn't true. Later he gets a
DNA test and we are Latvian Jews escaping
occupation. I am not sure what is true about
any story. My father tells me there is truth to
every joke. My father calls me his little loaf
of bread. He cuts me into slices. Between
each slice is a story. In one story, he calls
me his knuckle sandwich.




Story about a Bear

My father and I live in a trailer park in
Nebraska. The street is littered with felled
trees. There is a grizzly bear trapped in our
bathroom we think. He has escaped and now
lives in the street. Run my father shouts but
he has become indistinguishable from the bear.
One must have eaten the other.




Story about Birds

I realize I have been waiting to count my
fingers. I have one more finger than I
thought. I get distracted by a tree growing
twenty years a minute in front of me. I know
my true intention
I tell myself while watching
every bird make a nest.




The Truth about my Father

My father and I are swimming in one lake
in Minnesota. We are kept afloat by the
many fish in it. He calls out something to
me but I cannot hear him. He is
surrounded by water. I am in his arms. I am
tiny and surrounded by memories. He calls
out to me but I don't speak English yet. He
is not calling out to me. We catch a fish
and I am born. I fall out of my bouncy chair
into adulthood and my father is calling out
to me. I can begin to make out what he is
saying before a memory asks me to follow
it. Everyone has regrets. I attempt to call
back to my father but my mouth has been
filled with water. When I speak a rainbow
trout slips from my mouth into his ear.




The room with the birds in it

I can't remember the name of the room
with the birds in it. I can't remember
the names of the birds in the room
with all the memories in it flying with
regard only for the cage they are in.
I can't remember whether the birds
are in a room or in a memory. The size
of a memory doesn't cost as much
as the size of captivity. In a memory
all my birds could be dead. I wouldn't
even know it. My name flaps its wings.
I remember it is a beautiful name.
I can't remember the name with all
the cemeteries in it. I scoop a handful
of birdseed and offer it to the sky.
The dead come to eat from my hands.
I don't know their names. I am feeding
them my life. This is a housewarming party
which is very cold. They offer me a room.

Wheeler Light lives in Boulder, CO. He is a recipient of the Fortnight Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pretty Owl Poetry, Hobart Pulp, and Yes Poetry, among others.