poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Leah Naomi Green grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and received an MFA from the University of California–Irvine. She is the author of the chapbook The Ones We Have (Flying Trout Press, 2012). She teaches at Washington and Lee University and lives in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

To the Cardinal, Attacking His Reflection in the Window

“It is your very self” I tell him.  
He has never seen me.  

His quick coin of breath disappears on the glass as it forms: air 
that feeds his bones their portion

willingly as it feeds mine.  He spends his here, 
besieged by the dull birds who gather 

and whom he cannot touch, his own feathers 
red as wrought blood.  

Dear bird, how many selves 
must you vanquish? 

In the mornings, his wings are backlit.  They are beating, 
delicate, cruciform, hollow feather, hollow bone.  

In the blizzard his furor is the only color, 
the only shape.  He is waiting 

for the coward to come out.  There is nothing 
all winter he has saved to eat.  

I saw a female the day before he disappeared.  
Her beak just as orange, her body, calm, watched his.  

I made voices for her: variations on the pride 
and hemmed patience of women I’d known 

whose husbands did insistent, strong, 
and strange things.  Maybe she knew it was spring.  I didn’t.  

The next day he came once 
to throw the bright dime of his life to the walled world, 

as if to make sure 
it was not feather against feather that hurt him. 

Copyright © 2017 by Leah Naomi Green. Originally published in Pleiades, Summer 2017. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2017 by Leah Naomi Green. Originally published in Pleiades, Summer 2017. Used with permission of the author.

Leah Naomi Green

Leah Naomi Green

Leah Naomi Green is the author of the chapbook The Ones We Have (Flying Trout Press, 2012). She lives in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

by this poet

poem
I cut a cantaloupe from its rind and hold it, scalped 
and slipping.  Inside it, there are seeds in folding rows, 
dark in the concentric hollow, and I don’t know how 
I will remove them, 

and I don’t know how they keep one another, 
in loose grasp, from falling, 
or what they would touch if they fell.

Washing
poem
the room where I want to rest,
I find my hands and am able 

again to see you—
clear eyed where we left one another—

last year in the passenger’s seat,
having woken after Colorado, which was beautiful

and which I did not wake you for, 
wanting all the aspens, 

all the golden, quaking aspens, and their silence
poem

“God is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere.”
                                                              —Borges


1.

The peony, which was not open this morning, has opened,
falling over its edges 

like the circumference of God, still clasped 
at the