Skip to main content

Hillary Leftwich


I’m calling you out.
You’re a dream
but never a reality.
You’re everywhere
on the streets and in my sheets.

I work all day and catch
the Colfax bus home at night.
You’re everywhere on the bus;
your smells, your faces, your rage.

There is a woman
twitching in her seat
from withdrawals.
I’m too scared
to sit next to her.

I see the face
of the man who tried
to kill me every day
in my son’s face.

How can I love this boy
with all my heart when
he looks like the one person
I hate the most?

I can’t wake up.
I can’t move.
The psychiatrist tells me
it’s sleep paralysis but
I think it’s you.

I can solve Algebra equations
in my dreams
but I can’t figure out
how to live
off $2300 bucks a month
with three jobs
and a son to raise.

Soon he will lose
his Medicaid because
of a man who cares more
about the size of his hands
than the size of his heart.

There’s no equation that solves
how I can save my son
from the seizures
that are going to kill him.

My eyes aren’t brown
they’re hazel
but who gives a fuck
when no one looks you
in the eye anymore?

Men tell me it’s so cute
when I try to write poetry
and read in front of people.

This is how the world is, honey.

Put your big girl panties on.

You’re prettier when you smile.

Swallow next time, will ya?

I can’t get the smell
of bleach
out of my nostrils
that I use to scrub
the black mold
off my son’s bedroom walls.

It’s killing us.

My credit sucks
and I can’t afford to move.
You have me in a choke hold.

What happened to the bed
I slept in when I was five?
What happened to my baby blanket
that protected me
from the hands
of strange men and women
trying to touch me?

My dad threw it away
like you’re throwing us away.

I can’t scrub everything clean.

The bleach makes it look
like the mold is gone
and the walls are clean
when they’re really not.

Some of us can see it
but too many of us can’t.

It was never gone.

It’s still here,
Growing.
Killing us
with every single breath that we take.

Hillary Leftwich is co-host for At the Inkwell, a NYC based reading series and organizes/hosts other reading events around Denver. Her writing can be found in print and online. 

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

Beneath the Chickenshit Mormon Sun by Bruce Embree

I've posted this before, on a depressing day probably just like this one. This poem makes me feel better. That's all I have to say on that. It turned out worse than I thought The champion defended his title then Eldridge Cleaver came on to talk about his reasons for becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Grandma and I damn near fell out of our chairs Went to town and got crazy drunk Came back home, called you long-distance after cruising and drooling Mainstreet again This is my last wish and love poem It is as follows Want to hold the wake at noon with plenty of acid and rum No friends and relatives Ghost music by Hendrix and the Byrds drowning all sound as you fuck me to dust beneath the chickenshit Mormon sun. Links:  http://www.limberlostpress.com/authors/161embree1.html

Bree

No Mote black swans i almost didnt see but for their glowy beaks red as sumac- they didnt match the dark tones of lake, stuck out like your lust for me while i read to the children all cloistered- who could hear me even from the colonnade, all hickory and hops-vine, where i saw you watch me from inside a white willow tree. mergansers with their heads trailing swam among dead stakes of lotus. that belted kingfisher bode us a good day, and returned the children to their cages below bald cypress knees so naked i had to look away. you willowed no longer, i took leaf to mean wing, and feather to mean ivy. i took a shaded path back to the armory. it got hot and thick and i could breathe more heavily, rapt on high, no mote of hope. Bree is a poet and visual artist living in Pleasureville, KY. Her Green Panda Press has put out hand-made chapbooks, anthologies and sundry of the very small art and poetry press since 2001. In 2015 she began Least Bittern Books out of Henry County, K