Leah CHRISTENSEN / 9 Poems

Swan Song

No painted faces

thoughts above water


they don’t read books

or write poetry

feathery, plump


a hard wind


words are my dreams


not questioning whether it exists


on the horizon


Her fur is Heavy

Jennifur sits in the corner of the window

radiator not on but not as cold as the fogged pane

that she looks through motionless waiting for a bird

Jennifur sees you. A heaviness in the center of her chest

layers of limestone fossilized winters

a virused landscape wet dead and silent

her breadth is moving thoughts from cells that share

red-orange reflection into a cat’s eye

She doesn’t need a book to tell you how she feels

When you are dead and living in Denmark, will you remember

the name Sven? says the four year old in the room.

Jennifur doesn’t blink but stares into his soul.

She can’t remember the book she read


I crawled in the hole and found paradise

But then the walls shattered.

Covered in shards i saw hell


I stopped during those months

laying flat in the sand

paddling along the school

submerged and balanced

the bus took me out of the city

through a landscape with

lakes and trees

to my drugged helpless dependent

asking me for time

away from my performance

late to my partner

Will you take photos of me

against this landscape?

When it snows, it’s beautiful.

My partner explained what

he had planned for us to perform.

I follow Anna with her baby carriage

to the exhibit.

We are separated at the elevator,

she texts that she has finished.

I walk away, stop and turn back.

The ticket is too expensive to see

it again.

I can’t remember what the exhibit

is anyway.

The English teacher is practicing

Shakespeare, how the female

characters influence. He trembles

and stutters in an accent.

Where are you from? I say.

A small school in California.

I try to tell him I am a writer

but it won’t come out. Nervous

tick when I talk about myself.

The River

you left for the country

and he flew away

I am here now waiting

and cleaning up

after everyone

after the storm

after love

he calls me his flower

his mother as I read to him

the water collecting

around my ankles

I will go to the wedding

and then to the talent exam

I am the river

the members sit

on one chair

piled like elephants

in a circus

of unkindness

The whole of things

I’m finding a home for all my books.

I’m hungry with sadness.

Tea with you is painful

the pieces cut all of skins and petals

casting a shadow of unbreathable dust.

Rocks are burning but we can almost reach

the water.

I miss the land.

But who will speak tomorrow and who

will die.

That was unspeakable.

The more I move the chances multiply.

I want to stay warm.

Stay with me.

it’s not important anymore

when I laugh.

Some hang on the wall

or on the page.

They are paper butterflies.

My words anchor

my body.

All my conversations

I am always wishing for that perfect conversation,

the one where I understand.

She said she could not stand listening to

her husband chew

but she didn’t notice that his words were toxic.

All the synagogues are museums now.


They spoke about beauty

like it was on the surface.

Bacteria on his hands.

I didn’t choose you

for your language.

She played the flute.

I understood history through his words.

I love how you bring together people at different stages in your troupe.

They all love to create.

Next Stop a woman of the world

She can’t get up

I hate you and give me all your money

she doesn’t move

Get out of my way

it’s private property

I’m vegan and only cook for myself

Make your scary face

I can’t do it anymore

she was a good person, she had three cars

I only want a library card

Are you red or blue?

I’m from The City

Can I kiss you?

You’ve been to all of those countries?

But where have you lived?

only now.

did he touch her in his mind?

stop asking questions

I hear you

Then why didn’t you say anything?

stop asking questions

I always look at everything as art so I don’t take it apart

I don’t waste time

every morning I get off at the wrong stop

Don’t you know when to get off?

no. I’m writing poetry

he looks like a king

he looks like god

Did you see him?

daily flowers

All flowers fade

rousing death

a pillow for your thoughts

repose arrest

For one even forms ambitions

thoughts sleep trouble awakens

deliver questions and reasons

polluted with fear

back and forth, art and life

you see things as a critic

I am an art lover

Making a hard fist with one hand

with the other decorate the air

with a delicate dance

O routine break my heart

It’s too tight from neglect

When they were small there was one bed

and they whispered

to each other.


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