Moonshot #5 | Poetry | Katie Wheeler-Dubin

Katie Wheeler-Dubin
If Sighted

You appear from the peripheral. You are nothing in focus, nothing substantive, you’re only the glimpse of a cat, running under a car or wingtip crooning, passing high overhead. You are not real because she does not see you. You have been eyeing her, tracking her for seasons now; she’s as real as it gets. You’ve been waiting for her to notice, but you remain nonexistent. If she were to remember you, she’d be remembering someone else. This truth is throwing its weight against your ribs, you are asking yourself, how do I become real to her, whom I want more than ginger or sleep? And if I’m not real to her, do I exist at all––does this matter––these eye-ticks, these clammy palm-lines? Yes, you want to dissipate, or melt, or drip into some kind of creature that exists for the subterranean, but you are freckled flesh and blood and you aren’t meant for smoke. Yes, this has made you head-dive into parking lot stains, made you bike so fast downhill, your tires burped and left the pavement, made you drink until such doubt could not find surface, it was ugly. You commit these acts of recklessness to convince yourself you are not just a pile, to remind yourself your behavior has repercussions, that maybe she will see you. She has not.

You cannot exist on your own. Your identity is formed from a series of parental stories spoken slow from the mouth and Sunday horoscopes and gossip you heard from other people about yourself—your identity emerges from this composite of outside perceptions, continues to with each body you meet. How people have thought of you, how they perceive you, it is the only thing that matters. You are no owl, no fox. You are pack wolf, you are hive wasp. You need affirmation, and right now, at this moment in time, right here in this garage, you are seeking hers. To become more than shadow: to become a sensation within her memory, this desire burns you. You want her to cut your name across her teeth. You want her to feel you like leftover sauerkraut on her tongue. Wanting doesn’t do shit. She does not know your name or your face or your scent. Your talons are sheathed. Stop skirting the edges. Hunt her down.

Katie Wheeler-Dubin, born and raised in San Francisco, enjoys collaboration, ginger, lucid dreaming, and film projects. She has been published in Sparkle + Blink, Poets 11 2012, Carry the Light, and TheNew and has read at numerous Bay Area reading series, such as Porchlight, Quiet Lightning, Portuguese Artists Writing Colony, LitUp Writers, and UC Santa Cruz’ Literature Undergraduate Colloquium. She won the UC Santa Cruz Deans’ Undergraduate Award (2011) and the San Mateo County Fair Best of Show (2012). She pays homage to all indigo children following their hearts.