STABLE + ORBIT by Candice Wuehle




As if we are inside warm water.

Or any surface, skimmable

Lip, surging freshly transmitted light.

This space—meadow; no,

Parking lot, lit

With unevenly

Hung lamp—shadow,

Shade, shine—

Allows us

To feel as if we aren’t habited, but


It is 11 years ago / X

Takes the photo from the passenger

Seat of my

Often wrecked and reanimated car.

I want one city

That never gets old.


It feels like one of the first

Days, humming and ajar.


Everything I love has something to do with beams.


You can’t capture mist /

Instead, I learn there are 3 kinds of water:

Surface, ground and atmospheric.

11 years later

I want to send X a picture

Of January-sopped city, 60 degrees

And uniced.


Understanding is not also occupying.


My astrologer

Explains: Solar left brain, Lunar right.

I get it.

I try eating cold weather fruit.

Only I

Am getting better

At being stupid, at accepting

I don’t comprehend

Underworlds. I insist on

That picture through my windshield

11 years ago.

I eat a lime green apple.

That picture was and is

Of red and white light under

Our city’s streetlamps,

Refracting, then

Releasing droplets, exposing the aura

Of the air

Between us.


It is the nature of a droplet to be the smallest observable element.

I don’t know what to say about other people.


I want to ask everyone what they want;

I want to ask everyone what they want to want.

Elements aren’t the same,

Although they both dissolve: ice

And snow can become one thing,

And always 2 ideas. O,

We were also listening to the radio,

Of course we were. I think of that song

It’s Only Time.

We never listened

To that one. I don’t know when

X developed

The photo, only that it appeared

And I tape the photo of the frame of the window-frame

Under the window, as if

I want to remember how hectic /

Or how over-valued / a fence / can be.

Or any outside which informs on the interior

Of anything else. Is that when I began

Trying to arrive at

The Clearing Open

Enough to excise



It takes awhile for me to learn

The term Memory Work, to

Access my interior in the dynamic way.


I start counting.

It is days until X will also exit.

My sister leaves town.

I tell him 1 time that it will be insufferable.

Now I have already endured it.

I know I meant it.

An emotion too extreme to bear:

Intolerable, unacceptable, oppressive, overwhelming and overpowering.

An inexpressible and unthinkable


That same summer as my sister flew away I

Wrote: have a good flight.

And in return: You too.

And as she hits the atmosphere, I receive her


Words / in reverse:



And for an entire season that is the image I keep

On my phone, as if


As if I could not change


I can


Meditate on Saturnalia, I begin

At the apex

Of a circle, at the juncture of continuous return /

Where everything comes back

In love with revisitation /

With that which can be restored.

I decay and expand and a green frond unfurls that is

Time as the one crisis which can’t be seen

On arrival.


11 years ago

Our city was also wrecked. Why would

I believe in anything?


Than wind. Or circles, I mean, a satin circumference slipping

Into itself, I meditate on that

And find all I wrote was that which was written on the back of the photo:

The scene is perfect/

ly adapted to this/ 

temporal phenomenon:/ 

distinct, abrupt, framed,/ 

it is already a memory/ 

(the nature of a photograph/

is not to represent but to memorialize)/

this scene has all the magnificence/

of an accident: I can/

not get over having had this good fortune:/

to meet what matches my desire.

By accident

I must mean Fire.

The element of no homecoming /

Air the only other it requires

And even that, only in appetite

In the style which dark isn’t dark

Without light.


Who do I think I am?


Outside a constellation

Of over-burnt asterism

Held together by her own

Heaviness alone?



Especially as we ease

Away, as all the luminosity lifts

And in the clearing I assume the order

Of emptiness,

Invisible except at the critical flash

Not of fence, but





Candice Wuehle is the author of the chapbooks curse words: a guide in 19 steps for aspiring transmographs (Dancing Girl Press, 2014) and EARTH*AIR*FIRE*WATER*ÆTHER (Grey Books Press, 2015). Her work can be found in Tarpaulin Sky, The Volta, The Colorado Review, SPORK, and PRELUDE and is forthcoming in The New Orleans Review and Juked, among others. She is originally from Iowa City, Iowa and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.