Rodd Whelpley


Like January thunderstorms, chaos
comes unbidden, tugging the last, worn thread
of night, a fight against which helpless
happenstance brings its measures of regret,
harkening to the Lethe, the memory
there, a faith in ghost boats set adrift
flaming, obliterating the sensory –
those haunting, breathing hurts we dare not risk.
Why the wind so strong, the stream so shallow
the punt’s return so hard and brashly swift –
ramming speed at our scull contently hollow?
Do not feel the maelstrom. Resist. Resist.
But hearts are not strong vessels made of spruce.
They live. They want. They bleed. They die. They bruise.


Rodd Whelpley manages an electric efficiency program for 32 cities across Illinois and lives near Springfield. His poems have appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Shore, 2River View, Star 82 Review, Kissing Dynamite, Barren, and other journals. He is the author of the chapbooks Catch as Kitsch Can (2018) and The Last Bridge is Home(coming in 2021). Find him at  




Twitter: @RoddWhelpley