By Theresa Leo



The end is not near.  We’ve passed the end, and it’s so far back
it’s like the tit of a cow in a field of poppies, a dot in a field

of many dots in a painting a myopic man is straining to see
in a village museum near a city we’ve never been to

nor will.  It’s so far back I can’t remember the exact
moment of it, the way I didn’t see the curve ball coming,

the one that clipped my left hip as I swung the bat,
missing and not being missed.  It’s the part of the eraser

worn down to the black metal band, the one that left
hideous gashes in the page of the test the math teacher

sprung on us, so many equations without solutions,
numbers that divided like soldiers on a reconnaissance mission,

then divided again.  It’s in the back of the closet in the box
of Thank You cards I put stamps on and never sent.

It’s that last conversation, the staccato of conjunctions
that kept each noun at bay, the one that wound down

to the luxury of nonspecifics—the possibility of or,
the horror of but, the delusion of and.  It passed me by,

the way beauty, like disease, has been known to skip a generation.


Song of Woo with a Hole in It

When you leave,
take the embalmed summer squash

you sent through the mail
as a sign of affection,

the apricot pit
you sucked to the bone

then thrust in my mouth
during the first kiss

of our first night of bedpost
and fruit and nylon seduction;

take the choice Adorno quotes
you used to explain

the half-hearted handholding
at the river in that New England city

where you snuffed out
every possible chance

for me to say it out loud;
take the poolhall serenade

and see-and-raise metaphors,
the mouth and neck allusions,

the overtold stories
of wrists and teeth.

Despite the Elizabethans,
I do not love you

or your adjectives;
so take all those bandaged moments,

the ruined voice, the dark space
between tooth and lip I’ll miss.

Teresa Leo is the author of the poetry collection The Halo Rule (Elixir Press, 2008), winner of the Elixir Press Editor's Prize.  Her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, New Orleans Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Painted Bride Quarterly, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere.  She has received grants from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Leeway Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  She works at the University of Pennsylvania.

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to use our site, or clicking "Continue", you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Women's Review of Books

Antiquity Oxford University Press
Women Who Fly Oxford University Press
Arbor Farm Press
Sara Ahmed Womens Review of Books Duke University Press
WRB Jan 2017 genders
Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to use our site, or clicking "Continue", you are agreeing to our privacy policy.
Continue Privacy Policy