The night ruins my love of sheep;
much easier to count by daylight
going 60 miles per hour, more brown
than white as we pass them on a hill.
I estimate 30 and you say no more than 15.
But who is really counting? It’s only noon!
We’re not even midway through summer
and the sheep are 3 miles behind us by now
and you’re seated there beside me, blushing,
and there is nothing in Indiana more rose
colored than a rose, but you would have it
no other way. Honey lips, wild hair, eyes grey
when the sky is grey, and all of your laughter
fills me with an almost light—a glow that
pushes me the way you push your hand out
the window and fly it through the air. UFO
or magic carpet. Zeppelin falling forward.
I do not ask you which, choosing instead
to orbit. Orbit is all I do.
Covered in hell—
this morning’s newspaper
this exodus of earwigs
from your poison-soaked lawn.
It’s not healthy to stare at one color
for too long—these endless seas
of green, these dry gray rivers
that take you from one place
to the same place.
There will be another eclipse
tonight, but nobody will see it.
Every couple of weeks it seems,
a brand-new reason to stand
barefoot on the cold grass
and wait out the darkness,
wait out the slow, heavy taunts
of midnight clouds,
wait out the ego,
which takes the shape of an anvil
whistling ten feet above your head.
Late to rest your body. Early to rise through
the miniature constellations of skin dust that
float in the dawn-lit air.
From your bathroom window, you watch
as a blue 1971 Buick Skylark blows
through a stop sign and vanishes
like cotton candy past the lips
of your first date in high school.
You hear a seagull screaming,
though you are far away from water.
Something with twenty eyes crawls from the sink drain.
It turns your reflection against you. You wash your face.
You prepare to walk the streets
that you once would stagger.
John T. Leonard is an award-winning writer, English teacher, and poetry editor for Twyckenham Notes. He holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University. He is fortunate to have works published in Chiron Review, December Magazine, North Dakota Review, Ethel Zine, Louisiana Literature, Jelly Bucket, Mud Season Review, Nimrod International Journal, The Indianapolis Review, Genre: Urban Arts, and Trailer Park Quarterly among others. He lives in Elkhart, Indiana with his wife, three cats, and two dogs. You can follow him on Twitter at @jotyleon and @TwyckenhamNotes.