Issue a5 · 2012



from The Sonnets 2 Orpheus


by Kent Leatham







         “Ist er ein Hiesiger?…”



Just a tourist, houseguest, patient, fare.

Just passing through, getting by, a pit-stop for coffee and a quick

piss on the way from Elysion to Eleison.

(Who died, anyway, the boy or the girl?)


It doesn’t matter.  It’s a buyer’s fantasy.

Your teeth, tiny vertebrae, are firmly rooted

under the pillow, waiting for change.

That dream of flying? It isn’t a dream. Ships


enter and exit the harbor like cellos, but the rosin

keeps missing the bow.  The girl with breasts

like dolphins reminds you of someone you know.


On the other shore, the water slips

its fingers up the beach’s dress.

There’s no end to longing.  Dust must find dust.







         “Euch, die ihr nie…”



Hey you, hard-drive for the Ancient of Days—

(or is that backwards?  Sarcophagus

for all tomorrow’s blogs and tweets?)—

Either way, we salute thee, as worms salute


the rain that drives them to sidewalks to drown

in the shapes of question marks and musical clefs.

Cliffs. Clefts.  Whatever it takes to shepherd us toward

grappa infused with stinging nettles and lemon peel,


or White Russians made with your mother’s milk.

(Do you look upon her breasts with disgust

or sadness? Would you climb back between her legs


for a chance to be held?) The angels in the graveyards know

what it means to remember, what it means to forget.

Drink up! (Intendant Caesars rose and / Left,

    slamming the door.)



        (final line from W.H. Auden’s “In Praise of Limestone”)







         “Frühling ist wiedergekommen…”



April again, and you can hear the springs

creak in the flowerbeds.  So much lust

to persist, produce, even the mold grows faster

on the bathroom walls.  And in the midst of it all,


a toddler on a crowded bus shrieking out her ABCs

over and over and over, while her father

turns up his iPod and stares at the breasts

of a woman in a Planned Parenthood shirt. . .


To the hipster, irony means blending in.

To the politician, it means not getting caught.

To the poet, it means writing sonnets in praise


of fucking, or Facebook, or Peter Falk,

of saying the earth is this or this

anything but beauty, anything but song.










Kent Leatham is a poet, translator, editor, and critic.  His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Zoland, Poets & Artists, Artifice, Bellevue Literary Review, Softblow, Rowboat, Breadcrumb Scabs, 322 Review and The Battered Suitcase.  A wayward native of central California, Kent currently lives in Boston and edits poetry for Black Lawrence Press.