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Chelsea Wagenaar

Honorable Mention: 2013 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Poet:
Chelsea Wagenaar is a doctoral candidate and teaching fellow at the University of North Texas. Her poems have been accepted or published recently in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Salamander, and Barrow Street.

Nocturne Anesthesiologist

On the nights he cannot sleep
his wife consoles him—you are obsessing,
she says, it is not your fault—
but his tool is ether, his art oblivion.
How else to quiet the usual litany
of those who have awoken on the table?
A man with trembling lips
claims the surgeons talked fly-fishing
over his open body; a small girl
cannot sleep for more than an hour
without shrieking herself awake.
She dreams of agony, auraed men
leaning over her.
These are exceptions,
his wife says, but he wonders
if the unawakened are the true exceptions—
if perhaps we are not meant
to transcend pain. When she touches him
he remembers: this is how to be human.
Touch her back, look at her eyes.
On the nights he wanders outside
he is cold, knuckles and cheeks smarting
beneath streetlights that glint in and out
like synapses, voids in the dark. Look,
a white stitch moon holds the light together.
And the stars have taped their eyes shut.

Copyright ©2013 Chelsea Wagenaar