New Wheels

Fireflies are bastards,
and they made me do it.
Such operatic performers they are, ballerinas
with light-tap-shoes, producing
a frenzied envy in strobe-punctured,
pinwheeling choreography. From the
ringside lawnchair, you’re a wimp
if you won’t compete in the dance.

Strike onto the strawgrass shuffleboard. Toe
out of one sandal with caution, chuck the next
so it arches into the dim shrubbery,
already distant. I test the turf with half a jumping jack,
find it’s got a subtle way of springboarding me back.
With this stuff they plant the playing fields in heaven.

I’m warming up, I guess,
but that much is unclear for now. Just a skip, a strut,
a solo stab at the tango are all I can conceive
to execute on this lavish lawn-scape. I canter
like a pony birthed minutes ago. Faltering then regaining,
faltering then regaining; then gaining, and gaining and gaining.
Coined by the courtside as mad dash, the only emotive expression
I can supply is
The shush of my sprinting muscles at once rumble:
go into the air. I wonder how in my head but in youth
I knew answers, so next my torso is pitching forward,
elbow macaroni style. A dirt deathbed becomes paramount in
my periscope vision, but instincts have already marionetted
my arms into hoisting rods. Palms plant the earth,
and in a second that’s split gravity swings and what is always
standing solid is untethered: legs that were masts now
the free-waving flags. I’ve been launched
sidelong, into an orbit tracing the outline of my aura.
The touchdown of each limb in turn is light but solid, with
fragrant balloons of fruit like marbles collapsing underneath
the crowns of my feet. Bugs in the sap of my mouth
because I’m laughing: cartwheeling at once like a kid
and the next great gold Olympic hope. Grassblades buckle and
for one turn the rule of a world with an
upright obligation, surrendered.


Emily Black is a resident and fan of the Midwest, where she has lived and studied in order to earn her bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls come spring 2016. She hopes to pursue a career in editing or publishing with her education. Over the past years she’s worked as an editor for the campus literary journal Prologue and as a part-time librarian, where she’s surrounded by books much like the kind she hopes to write someday.