John Leonard


Alone, the air starts smelling like
scrambled eggs or a rat that died
in the wall.  Mayflower sons.
Puritan daughters. That sort of lineage.

Alone, thoughts detach from mildewed
lamp shades and crawl across the ceiling.
They crash and peer under doors with lurching
frames as words begin to linger…

“Garden”          “Until”         “Shore Leave”  

But nothing ever opens.

Alone, one voice in particular,
which the train across town drowns out.

One in particular murmurs the words
to an ancient lullaby about the leagues
of suffering which half a century can bring.

Alone, and the first thing he sees when he comes home
are the bones of his father and his mother’s milky eyes. 

What we eat to survive: 
Cast iron shadows, polished war medals,
sister’s night gown left ragged in the corner.

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