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          39 Sentences for Easter

                                                            Danika Stegeman LeMay

I’ll watch Cornell Freeney become the axis
around which the German Wheel revolves
for aeons. A wheel has no beginning and no
end. When am I supposed to do the dishes
now? In every halftime show I’ve happened on
or sought out, the same music accompanies
Cornell Freeney and his wheel. A violin aches
and permeates space. A violin is an instrument
without fissures. Cornell Freeney is the center
of the wheel. The wheel is cylindrical. The wheel
is the joining of two circles. Cornell Freeney maps
the circles’ radii and diameters. Cornell Freeney
encompasses each of the circles’ segments and
arcs. Cornell Freeney exists both inside and
outside the wheel. Cornell Freeney is the wheel’s
        Have I allowed myself to permeate
an object until my mind resonates through it
like a corona? Have I healed my fissures and
held them sustained in notes? A girl, not me,
but a girl who could’ve been me, writes in her
wide-ruled notebook, “I cut my hair. I cut my
skin. I hate myself.” A box in black ballpoint
appears before the words. I find the notebook
discarded in the alley behind my home. Its spiraled
spine’s tire-crushed. When I touch the notebook,
it marks my hands. I cut my hair. I cut my skin.
I hate myself.
I wash my hands. The notebook’s
other words will remain unspoken. I wash my hands
but the residue doesn’t wash off.
                                                Glenn Gould
played Bach’s Goldberg Variations repeatedly
to fail to follow a path he drew and re-drew,
worrying the notes toward perfection. Our lungs
inhale. Our lungs expel. Glenn Gould gloved
his hands. Cornell Freeney’s hands are gloriously
ungloved. My hands are bare but for the smudges in
their creases. It’s Easter. The day a body might rise
from the grave. Gold haloes the minds of the
Byzantine icons. To say Cornell Freeney flips,
twists, and turns does not begin to describe his
movements with the wheel. Can I still say “corona”
and mean a crown, the heat that envelopes a star? 
“Give it up,” the announcer says. “Give it up
one more time.”

Danika Stegeman LeMay’s work has appeared in 32 Poems, Afternoon Visitor, Concision, Forklift, OH, Leavings, and Word for/ Word, among other places, and is forthcoming in APARTMENT. Her video poem, “Then Betelgeuse Reappears” was an official selection for the 2021 Midwest Video Poetry Festival. Danika’s debut collection of poems, Pilot (2020), is available from Spork Press. Her website is