Helen Wickes lives in Oakland, California, and worked for many years as a
psychotherapist. In 2002 she received an MFA from Bennington College. Her first book of poems, In Search of
Landscape, was published in 2007 by Sixteen Rivers Press. Her poems can be read and heard online at From The
Fishouse. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI Online, Amarillo Bay, Atlanta
Review, Confrontation, Eclipse, Evansville Review, RiverSedge, Sanskrit,
South Dakota Review, Stand, TriQuarterly, Runes, ZYZZYVA, Zone 3,
Chicago Quarterly Review, The Collagist, The Hollins Critic, The Journal, Natural
Bridge, Santa Clara Review, Folly, Forge, Green Hills Literary Lantern,
Limestone, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Bryant Literary Review, Eclectica,
Ellipsis..., Southwestern American Literature, Willow Review, FRiGG: A Magazine of
Fiction and Poetry, Hanging Loose, Boulevard, Soundings East, Verdad, The Coe
Review, Crucible, The Jabberwock Review, Kaleidoscope, Pleiades, PMS:
poemmemoirstory, SLAB, Visions International, The Griffin, Salamander,
Epicenter, Barnstorm, Poetry Flash, In the Grove, CQ, CSPS,
Freshwater, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Softblow, 5 AM, the Bennington
Review, and the anthology Best of the Web 2009.
The voice said, I’m putting you to sleep.
So count down with me: ten, nine—of course,
I’ll wake you up—eight, seven, ven, ennn...
Titanium is lustrous and ductile, malleable
when hot, brittle when cold. Titanium is light,
found in dirt and igneous rock.
Is essential for missiles.
Before battling the gods, the titans
rubbed the raw ore, a white amorphous powder,
over their bodies for camouflage.
A lot of good it did them, poor souls.
Jacob’s excuse was a tiff with the angel.
He came home broken and blessed: off-kilter,
asunder, and aslant. No titanium for him.
Bone, if it chooses, grows into and marries
the porous metal. Welcome to the neighborhood,
the body says to metal, but behave yourself.
Instructions: before you dump my ashes
in the creek, south of Route 88, west of Carson Pass,
pull out the implants. I’ve been told
that titanium doesn’t melt.