Fry an egg on the sidewalk
Burn your feet in the sand
The waves are massive, the arms get tan.
Watermelon is mealy; sorry, I don’t like it
Nor the cake made into a flag
Just give me strawberries and vanilla.
Ants all over the picnic
And food poisoning in the sun-hot salad
Honey, there’s sand all over your hand.
A float dressed up like the Statue of Liberty
Horses leave their droppings
As they follow …
It’s not the gemstones or fossils
Sold to tourists and museums
Says Sherpa Lhamu of Dingboche.
Not even Dalh Baht that keeps us
Nepalese nimble like mountain goats.
The West calls it potato.
The Chinese call it tudou—bean of earth.
But we call it aloo—small, muddy, bountiful
Heavier than mountains.
In spring, before snow melts
The whole village stops:
No cooking, no music, no fire or visitor.
In silence we plough, bending over the soil
Until every seed …
“When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park
we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied
that the lake had floated the seeds ashore and that the little
colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were
more and yet …
We drove to Tucson in the cuspy light
of a morning moon—
caraway seed, eyelash,
lemon zest over mountains we knew
were there but couldn’t see.
My daughter sang
all through both hours of the drive.
She played her favorite songs
and belted out the belty ones,
and as we neared the city,
the sun showed us which pocket
of the sky it had been tucked
inside: it said, Light starts here,
the deep southeast, the idea
of Mexico. …
Sometimes the surprise arrives with four boys dressed as crows
Parting winter streets and a light that levitates cement and palm
After the long rains cease and the air begins its pastel gestures.
You do not know their leather eyes or why their arm feathers
Shed menace over the ground. They appeared. Then disappeared.
You kept running. You did not know how long it would take to
Remember, decades later, you …
Glass brings consequences—
the sea, a black sermon,
the well-lit car rendering
too much promise,
the inside made contrary
and strange. His mother cradles him
but he fusses and won’t sleep,
the train’s sway not enough.
The girl with the baby
asks me a question
I can’t answer,
the sea in conversation
with itself, inside the shell
of the train. She gives
her baby a bottle
of Coke, the red and silver can,
the unmistakable suckle—
I haven’t the …
They are spirited, drunk on love. They will float or sink; it’s all in their specific gravity. How much sweetness and light can yeast convert? Session is a matter of shift. They grasp at the glass, listening louder, fanning pages, filling available space to see what disperses and they can dispense with. Proof has lost all meaning. Roll with it.
Anna Leahy’s poetry collection Aperture is …