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Seth Leeper

stop loss

most nights you kept her from us behind a door, we could

hear the growling and banshee cries, i’ve come to recognize

now her sin was grieving, and it was also her plight,

so she kept you from us however she could, gripped you

in her pointy hands, coveted you like a precious jewel

teetering on a knife’s edge, yes i lost you once, i lost you

twice, and she was losing long before we came along,

two inconvenient children always a threat to the porcelaine

fine silence of cocktail hour, when we were meant to be seen

and not heard, for that hour she wasn’t losing anything

but preserving you with scotch and ice, so you’d live forever

in that memory, and i wonder if that’s where she returns

to now when she wants to see you, or if she’s since cut her losses

cadaver song

while i wait for twilight to dissipate,

i think about light, and all the ways

it’s betrayed me, i sink my feet deeper

into the wet sand, my backside soaked

from the indifferent comings and goings

of waves, to be in my skin is to feel

nothing, not even the paralyzing cool,

to be in my skin is to want nothing,

not even the heat, especially the heat,

and the light that it brings,

to be in my body is to deserve

nothing, and be nothing,

i’m not even here, a beached buoy,

i am somewhere in that distance

beyond the light of the moon,

cradled somewhere between zen

and oblivion, how full i feel

when empty, i could drift

like a feather, or sink as a rock,

i could sail my voice over alps,

or sojourn into silence,

shatter the bulb of a guiding star,

shutter the lens i’m under,

i wait for dawn to stir the seagulls

and sand crabs, pinchers poised

to consume this carrion

discarded on the shore


Seth Leeper is a queer poet. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in River Styx, Salamander, Hobart After Dark, Juked, and Always Crashing. He holds an M.A. in Special Education from Pace University and B.A. in Creative Writing and Fashion Journalism from San Francisco State University. He lives and teaches in Brooklyn, NY. He tweets @sethwleeper.


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