Dawn Leas: 2 poems

Photo by Dynamic Wang on Unsplash


after Antonio Porta

Behind the words, can you hear my heart?
A low thrum of tension.

Tug of tears.
Years of pretending.

Your touch breaks 
this chandelier of ache.

You sing my name
night after night.

When the singing doesn’t work,
we go to the woods.

A new salve for me.
We take turns leading.

Is there a trail blaze to follow?
Is this rhododendron or mountain laurel?

I need to study plant life.
I need to learn how to not pretend.

After an hour of eyes down on mud, rock, grass,
I open my arms to the wind.


Breathing in that thin air,
you rode a banana-seated bike
to the movies. Your mom sent 
water bottles to quench altitude sickness.

I practiced ya'll with a northern accent
over and over,
learned how not to drown
below sea level.

The Carolina humidity hugged you,
at times almost
to the point of suffocation.

Drought-cracked Texas
swallowed my voice.
The heat wave nearly boiled our goldfish.

You were experimenting
with pony-tailed hair
and lyrics,
mind-altering substances.

I was experimenting
with being afraid of everything.

I wanted to make rain purple
while my friends drank Rum and Coke,
set free the mystery rising from my toes,
licking my ribs, prickling my heart.

It would take decades for us
to collide – a bundle of kinetic energy,
gravitational pull
toward the molecular cloud,
fusion a secret language
only our bodies could translate
into a luminous, new star all our own.

Dawn Leas is the author of A Person Worth Knowing (Foothills Publishing), I Know When to Keep Quiet (Finishing Line Press) and Take Something When You Go (Winter Goose Publishing). Her work has appeared in New York Quarterly, The Paterson Literary Review, Literary Mama, The Pedestal Magazine, SWWIM, and elsewhere. She’s a writing coach, manuscript consultant, and arts educator. She’s a proud back-of-the pack runner, newbie hiker, salt-water lover, and mom of two grown sons. www.thehammockwriter.com

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