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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I danced for decades with lies,

led across a scuffed-up floor

leaning on an unfaithful shoulder.


Those lips so lush with promise?

I tasted their sophisticated fictions,

perjured myself by believing

their candied catchphrases,

allowed my feet to be carried

across dancehalls and ballrooms

into spaces I knew better to enter,

as if I’d lost

the capacity to walk away.

A thirsty dog will gulp down

tainted water—and I drank

of the cloying poisons with relish.


Those hands so duplicitous,

one encasing mine like a lock box,

the other driving the small

of my back like a spike.

I told myself I had no choice,

conditioned as a prisoner

toward a cell I myself constructed

and latched shut. Why did I feel

the need to swallow the only key?


These bare feet have followed

the pulsing of those lips,

the cadence of those hands,

the rhythms of seduction and sedation.

I alone have worn this bittersweet path

through the grains beneath my feet,

every sliver earned, owned, deserved.

Scott Wiggerman.jpg

Scott Wiggerman

Pronouns: He/Him

1 Poem

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


Scott Wiggerman (he/his) is the gay author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Bearing the Mask, and 22 Poems & a Prayer for El Paso. Poems have appeared recently in Gyroscope Review,  Mollyhouse, Unlost, Shot Glass Journal, Red Earth ReviewRogue Agent, and Impossible Archetype.

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