Grooves of ivy twisted along the silver
rims, and some demon haunted the lenses—
a spirit, an insect that noticed Ada’s longing.
When she raised the glasses to her face, she
sensed it shifting, knew its menace. Through their
frames she glimpsed her real world, not this shadow
place with its sagging wires and dirty streets,
skies she knew, where bronze-tipped clouds cast
of yes and no over the pastures. Frightened,
she mislaid the spectacles time and again.
Wanting costs so much—you stop feeling
whole. So Ada tolerates blurred contours,
buys a car, and eats her food from plastic
packages. Just once in a while, just for a
minute, she lifts the windows to her unlocked
eyes and hazards everything. Lids wide, she
hears each separate shaft of grass, freely
bent and humming allegiance to the wind, and
closer by, a hungry predator, keen to
pounce. Just long enough to say yes, and no.
Wheeler is is a Professor of English at Washington
and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, in the
United States. She is the author of the poetry chapbook
Scholarship Girl; her poems appear in AGNI, Prairie
Schooner, Blackbird, and other publications. Her
second scholarly book, Voicing American Poetry,
is forthcoming from Cornell University Press in
the spring of 2008. She is also a co-editor with
Moira Richards and Rosemary Starace of Letters to
the World, an anthology of poems from members of
the Women’s Poetry Listserv, forthcoming from
Red Hen Press.