It’s everywhere today; the wildfire
of helicopter blades, what you hear
when the furnace kicks on, a begging
voice and an airstrike of unholy smiles.
But it’s not something you could tell your sister
as she accidentally pours raspberry iced tea over
your hands; the black and red of it, like motor oil
mixed with blood. Or how you can’t stand the smell
of her fried chicken, how your brother-in-law’s
hands have suddenly become greased razor-wire,
cutting through the armpits of your niece as he
tosses her higher and higher, past the clouds now,
like the boy who played catch every day
alone, throwing a stone above his head until,
one day, his head went missing from his body,
replaced by birthday streamers of crimson.
And you think about how blue the sky must look
behind the veil of sand and crumbling towers
that have now warped the entirety of your vision.

John T. Leonard

John is an English teacher and poetry editor for Twyckenham Notes. He holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University. His previous works have appeared in Chiron Review, December Magazine, North Dakota Review, Ethel Zine, and Nimrod International Journal. He lives in Elkhart, Indiana with his wife. Follow him on Twitter: @jotyleon.

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