Lea Marshall



There they hover, the invisible makers.
This man strung your piano. This welder
soldered your car door. Those farmers grew
wheat for your flour, cotton for your shirts.
Who looked across fields of drying salt,
gathering yours? Who counted worms
for your silk dress, tanned the leather
for your brown shoes? Who called his wife
from the factory floor as your new phone
sped by? And the woman who placed the keys

in your keyboard? She wore gloves.
They hover here, the sweating multitudes
who crafted your life. They fill your room
with an ignorance of you so vast you shake,
now, mutter and shake, able to imagine only
the woman who gathered your tea on cool
morning slopes, imagine her over and over
plucking green leaves in a silent mist,
smiling to herself, you think, the wicker
basket scratching her shoulders.



I am the currency of tongues. Imperfect
tool, deadly weapon. Through me you trade
the world for meaning. I stand between lovers
like a sword. When I say lamb you lie down
and bleat. Many wish to become me – artist,
healthy, President, invisible, traveler
. Believe me
at your peril. Only the dumb know my secret.

____________________________________________________________________THIS IS A SIMPLE POEM


When you go, I will wash
your body, take your arms
each in mine and know,
now, their weight. Pull
the cool sponge along
your side, lift your feet
in turn. I will wipe away
the blood or shit or dirt
your life smeared exiting,
find the white pathways
of your winter landscape.
I will handle you
with more care than you
could ever allow before
more care than I knew
I could contain and still
see the edges of light
around the window, still
hear soft feet approach
beyond the candle glare
still accept a glass of water
from someone’s hand.
I will share this silence
with you and not with
strangers. I will do this,
and you will not know.

____________________________________________________________________LEA MARSHALL’S‘s work is forthcoming in Linebreak and two anthologies, and has appeared in Menacing Hedge, Hayden’s Ferry Review, P.Q. Leer, Miracle Monocle, Moon Milk Review, diode, Anderbo, and elsewhere. She earned an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is also Interim Chair of the Department of Dance & Choreography.

____________________________________________________________________Read more by Lea Marshall:

Three poems in Diode
Four poems in Menacing Hedge
Poem in Miracle Monocle