Defect

Defect

for Robin Radikowski

You were smart,
to slip out first.
I remember when boys
laughed at your red
face, the trouble
your kidney’s failure
caused when you didn’t make it
to Typing class, and I had no idea
that you died.
You were 12, and I lost it
in History.

Today, a blogger
called “homos”
victims of a birth
defect, and I thought
of you, Robin, sitting
at lunch with us.
I don’t know
if you were gay.
I always saw you
as sexless, really.
The champion
of delight: the only
relief from adolescence
came to you
as quickly as death
did, and I think, now, at age 40,
how I wish you’d come to
me again in a dream
as you did the week
you died, explaining why
you were still here, cleaning
out your locker, and making me
forget, once again, to be afraid
of this world.



From Cracked Planet, forthcoming from Negative Capability Press
First published in Third Wednesday, Summer 2014 

How It Happened

How It Happened

It happened in the woods,
of course, where all that growls
maintains a weird light.

Dreams are petal cut-outs against
wood that happen
to ignite even the barest
fraction of memory. 

The slightest growl
in the dark you remember
fingering your afghan
that night, as a branch
tapped the glass.

Only it wasn’t the woods
where it happened because you
were on the inside. You had only wished
you were the woods as dark
crept near your belly.

Nails and skin, crocheted blankets.
Just forget it.
It happened
where all dark things do.



From Cracked Planet, forthcoming from Negative Capability Press
First published in Dispatch One, December 2005.

Werewolf

Werewolf

Sister Nun does not mind
that she’s a werewolf. It doesn’t
bother her to think of the night
he pierced her back with dirty
claws, infecting her
with the urge.

Dogs bark at the night, prepare
for Sister’s visit. She gnaws their
bones, humps the women, and makes
everyone laugh.

But not everybody likes Sister
Wolf. The humans grab their
rifles or, in a pinch, chuck
silver bangles at her and
shriek. Sister growls,
laughs, and wakes nude
and adorned until the next
bald moon pulls her like a
riptide.



From Sister Nun, Negative Capability Press, April 2016

Follow Sister Nun as she escapes over the wall of her convent (even though she has, in no way, been held captive) and read as she explores her identity, sexuality, and the path to enlightenment by wrestling alligators, vacationing in hell, and traveling through time and space during her 215-year lifespan.

“Weiland’s book is polished, unusual, and lovely, but it is even more than that. I don’t remember when I read a book of poetry that I couldn’t put down. Sister Nun is an unforgettable character – and this book that bears such a strong character’s name reminds me of Jane Eyre, Emma, Anna Karenina, and Lolita deserves to be in such elite company.”

-Amy King, Author of The Missing Museum and I Want to Make You Safe; winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize.

Tasha Yar At Her Best

Tasha Yar At Her Best*

Pain is a small price
to pay for clarity.
Just ask Tasha, she’s died twice,
so far. But at her worst, she often
felt her best. Crawling
through trenches, phasers
set to kill. A clear target
in the muck. Even her daughter, defying
genetics with her mother’s
blonde bob, disappointed
Picard in every, single way.
Armor and purpose. Family legacy.

But here’s a secret
that Tasha never told anyone:
Her death fantasy (and we all
have one) was to expire by the pool
on a holiday planet, opal sunset.
No phasers or fighting,
not that it matters, she knows
that now. Death brings
clarity far beyond
your pool day, and this time,
she slips through colored panels,
indigo and reds, the fire-pink
of cherry blossoms, and into the deep
and changing sea.


*In “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (Season 3, Episode 15) the ship experiences a temporal rift that results in creating an alternate timeline. Yar is once again alive on the Enterprise, but allegedly dies again on an Enterprise from the past. In “Redemption, Part II,” (Season 5, Episode 1) a Romulan, named Sela, reveals that she is the daughter of Tasha Yar and that her mother was executed years ago when she tried to escape from Sela’s father, who had kept her as a sex slave.


Coming soon in new, book-length manuscript, “To Boldly Go: Poems from the Starship Enterprise.”
First published in Cahoodaloodaling, Issue 27: Joy Sticks, Fall 2018

Smile Stew

Smile Stew

I slice
my smile
as though
a lamb
chop onto
the skillet.
Clinks.
Champagne
flutes
on New Year’s.
Extra teeth.
I am cooking you
smile stew.

You have asked
for it many times,
but I tell you
it’s too much
work. I work
too, you know.
Your comeback
is always
the same:
If your belly
aches, no point
to say it shouldn’t.

And the satin
bow in my stomach
tightens because only women
can cook smile stew,
and the knot
becomes stiff and shiny
like my smile, ready
to be ready.

So, I pluck
the light
from my cheeks.
The glare that strains
my eyes into happy
wedges, I use
as garnish.

I serve
it on a glazed
white plate.
My dish
a moon
in the dark.

I clear out—
meaning,
I am gone—
meaning,
I am haunting
my own body.
This husk
slips like a baby
doll into the corner.
Tulle and silk tossed
like arugula
as you take
your seat
and open wide.



Coming soon in new, book-length manuscript, “The Cure for Loneliness.”
First published in Valley Voices: A Literary Review, (Women Poets: A Special Issue) V18, N1, Spring 2018