Catherine Wheel by Jake Reynolds

When St. Catherine was sent to the wheel
it yielded at her touch and fell to the ground
in a thousand perfect splinters before her head

wheeled over the basket and through centuries
before Catherine of Aragon missed a slot on
the wheel of fortune, while the wheel of fate

delivered Catherine Parr to the king’s arms
and carried her beyond her husband’s death;
the wheels of Russia wheezed under

Catherine the Great, rolled over three wars,
left the past flat as roadkill; the wheels of
the sun and moon turn over Catherine

de’ Medici, over Catherine de Valois,
over timelines as rich as tapestries
and as dirty as the fields that house

the hollowed shells of last night’s fireworks,
the spin of the breaking wheel on tree stump
shooting arrows of fire like sparrows

glowing in the night. Catherines behind
wheels of cameras, close-up, the turn
of a dial, the wheel of facial expressions,

the wheels of tears appearing again,
the wheels of coins that line Catherine
Zeta-Jones, the rolling wheels of Kate Moss’s

pupils, the royal wheels of a royal
wedding, the wheels of ‘o’s typed
on keyboards at Kate Middleton,

their own Catherine wheel, the wheel
of a ring, all coming back to that image
of body of wheel, body on spike, wheel

nailed to a tree, set alight, laced with
explosives and ready to ignite, and the world
turns in on itself, the wheel beneath our feet,

firing debris, comets lost wheels that hurtle
through some old forgotten nebula…