What you Do in Dreams
There is a city lost in black and white abandonment with clouds like curtains so heaven couldn’t see us and shake its head in thoughtful resentment at the cracked beer bottle the cat knocked over, because now the floor of that old warehouse is stained with apathy and reeks almost as much as the loaded looks you get from the family you left behind because you were bored and looking for adventures that would look good on the kind of postcard people smile at and forget in the bottom of their coat pockets so it gets torn in the wash, but instead you’re waiting here, desperate for words and for life and for anything more than this current slice of hell where you’re burning from the cold of sitting cross-legged on the pavement, alone, promising yourself that today is the day you will learn to fly, and that you’ll defy the odds, just to prevent yourself from falling; live and learn and get concussed by the memories beating what were supposed to be sleeping hours
Before the Self-Portrait
An American Family Reaches for Odes
The flag of this home— this flag which we cannot burn— is not at half mast but it is tearing at the seams of these tearing faces filled with wool. It is in the way a father has become an alley you have seen but never felt. It is in the way a mother’s words only emerge from the dried lake, just to unbecome. A brother grips the slick barrel of a gun without telling the other boy that he loves him in silent tongues. A sister is slowly silenced by the shadows behind bedroom mirrors made of pointed fingers. They tried to leave no sign of themselves in those broken breaths and watching eyes of hopeful children. And you are left there, thinking, thank you & thank you & thank you & tha—
Rachael Lin Wheeler is currently a student attending Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. Her poetry, prose, and photography have been recognized by Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She is also the founder and editor of Vox Viola Literary Magazine, an intersectional feminist online publication, which can be found at https://voxviola.com.