l e s l e y    y a l e n

 

 

May 10


June 4









































May 10

 

Even the coldest day seems to have ended.
Even the youngest baby in his backpack is alert
and the panhandlers forgiving. Today, even
the guy with the tattooed face. His regular-
looking kid finds comfort in that face, finds even
an available corner. Even your two guitars
on their stands are keeping secrets.
Two different tunings! Even two orioles
one hour in our fruit tree made an assumption,
and I assume they'll be back. Even our two
small trees make me proud like an aristocrat
when they bloom, what I love is how they bow
to me in the morning. Even I remember walking
home from school by a crab apple tree and envying
it's orange-brown detritus. That school,
infinitely in my mind. The halls and small doors
and recurring pledges. Even the empty auditorium
is infinite, rows stretching back to a dark spot
I can't see. Most of what Iím dealing with here
I can't see. That's exactly why I got so excited
about the female cardinal, the red flash of truth
as she went. Even the rat you killed with a mallet.
Even the deer who came into the kitchen. Even the
babyís appearance like a shock of gray. Even the Rabbi,
when his head was bare, talked about an extraordinary visit
from a good priest who held his hand when he was sick,
sick, and after the recovery never said boo about it.

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June 4

 

Most of my time is squashing bugs
Picking bits from your beard
There are parts of plastic toys so tiny
I lose them in my open palm then worry
Did I swallow it? Grow up
Stop ruining the magic hour.
The bug zapper's practical sound is a warning
Delicious rush of perfection, guilt.
Today I saw a grievance of birds
Take a class action against the sky
I paused and rested on my mower
I saw your eyeballs take their tense position
When I started to talk, I saw that.
I'm not asking to catch a flower in the act
Of opening—that's her prerogative. It's enough
for me to identify a kernel of corn in the poop
and explain where the rest went
It's enough that I don't have a white male I wouldn't know how to raise.
It's great there are a few motes less than before I dusted
It's enough to pick the nits off my neck
Even when something is lodged in my throat.
It's enough that you and I graze the meadow in our desultory way
The quite big though not infinite meadow
It's enough to smile at this huge coincidence.

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LESLEY YALEN's writing has appeared in jubilat, The Massachusetts Review, Denver Quarterly, Octopus, Everyday Genius, Better, and elsewhere. Her two chapbooks, This Elizabeth and The Beginning In are hard to find copies of. Her first book, The Hearts of Vikings, is coming out from Natural History Press in 2014. She lives in Western Mass and works at the Yiddish Book Center.


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