Two Poems

by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Broken Rider

He no longer can raise both fists,
though for a time he rode a motorcycle
and crouched like a coiled beast.

When half an arm snapped off 
left him unable to hold on
to the machine or the gun 

that came as an accessory, 
he became useless as a toy.
Never a toy: more like a role, 

a possible self, a way to behave.
Helmeted and muscular, even 
where scraped raw by gravel 

and unrecognizable debris 
what can be encountered
by following the roads out there,

his eyes remain ever shielded 
as if the world is just 
as it always was—ever bright.



Rural King Hat

What leisure for those who rise 
from trailer parks, the men 

in tee-shirts—standing in groups 
just now Memorial Day Weekend

—outside the fuss of cities, 
who gather near rusted swing-sets,

sheds with this and that, PBR maybe 
and bottle rockets, to watch the bats,

and last night one of them let this go
where it’s found today, sweat-soaked 

and crawling with slugs, their horns 
reaching out like glimmering crowns.
Laura Madeline Wiseman's book Velocipede, published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press, is a 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist. Her book Leaves of Absence: An Illustrated Guide to Common Garden Affection with artist Sally Deskins published by Red Dashboard, is an Honor Book for the 2017 Nebraska Book Award.