Rachel Wetzsteon


Cabaret Ludwig

I’ ll fly off to a fjord in Norway,
post “Oh the pain” above my doorway
if you insist on going your way,
for this is not a duck.

That is what cowards say, and realists
who run away, shun the appeal its
rare white fur holds, although they feel it’ s
a rabbit full of pluck.

Let’ s multiply, let’ s twitch our noses,
let’ s walk among the night’ s dark roses,
though where the oldest story goes is
a place where tongues might cluck.

On Leaving the Bachelorette Brunch

Because I gazed out the window at birds
doing backflips when the subject turned
to diamonds, because my eyes glazed over
with the slightly sleepy sheen your cake will wear,

never let it be said that I’ d rather be
firing arrows at heart-shaped dartboards
or in a cave composing polyglot puns.
I crave, I long for transforming love

as surely as leaves need water and mouths seek bread.
But I also fear the colder changes
that lie in wait and threaten to turn
moons of honey to pools of molasses,

Sakura Park

The park admits the wind,
the petals lift and scatter

like versions of myself I was on the verge
of becoming; and ten years on

and ten blocks down I still can’ t tell
whether this dispersal resembles

a fist unclenching or waving goodbye.
But the petals scatter faster,

seeking the rose, the cigarette vendor,
and at least I’ ve got by pumping heart

some rules of conduct: refuse to choose
between turning pages and turning heads