These three poems by Leah Mueller explore the mercurial nature of love and relationships, as well as the solitary experience of aging…
by: Leah Mueller
Reluctant Vagabond Where would you be if you hadn’t decided to come all this distance? Hiding inside with your face turned away, barely recalling your lines. Instead, you soldier through reinvention, lean into the weight. You stumble, start again. If not for me, you’d stand under those too-bright lights, but no one would recognize your body, wedged inside the same crevice, season after endless season. Imagine the distance from one room to another, crossed thousands of times: the destination you never quite reached. I stand on the opposite side of the freeway. You have nowhere left to go.
Java Love Can love go right? Lying in bed, I listen as the coffee maker works its daily sorcery. A sudden downpour of hot liquid pelts the glass receptable, followed by contented sigh of steam, then silence. You don’t drink coffee, but you’re already awake, making sure I get my fix. Can love go right? I have only known the other kind. Death and abandonment. Everyone goes away at last, and you will leave, as well. Meanwhile, the heat of a porcelain mug clasped between stiff fingers keeps us together for a few more years.
Age You can hear the minutes, although you have never seen them. They beat like a terrified heart inside a closet: relentless pulsating mass, never stopping to rest. You lie in bed and listen to the throb of blood. Though your heart kept pace with the clock, it fell behind a beat. Then two. Those minutes run long after you stop trying to chase them, and they will always be faster.
Leah Mueller is the author of ten prose and poetry books. Her work appears in Rattle, NonBinary Review, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, New Flash Fiction Review, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. She is a 2023 nominee for both Pushcart and Best of the Net. Leah’s flash piece, “Land of Eternal Thirst” appears in the 2022 edition of Best Small Fictions. Her contest-winning poetry chapbook, “The Failure of Photography” will be published by Garden Party Press in Summer, 2023. Website: www.leahmueller.org.