Three Poems by Leah Mueller

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.

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:

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