Lesle Lewis




A circular frame goes around us and touches itself where it started, but ending where it started will not necessarily make it a circle.

We have a grave self-consciousness unencumbered, perhaps too unencumbered.

We’ll find our luggage eventually.

Things are going to happen now.

A big wave flattens us face down in the sand.

It passes and we stand up and everything is all right again, but there’s lots to clean up, many dead fish.

Is our path too narrow?

Will we come back the same way?

I have a good middle-term memory

I have many husbands.

You are a human being with a brain on a couch in a house.

The busyness of your interior has become a dense wet green.

In this piece of hyper-focused action and attention, we wade through the tall deer grass, remove our boots and wade into the swamp to gather fairy mist together.

As the morning grows, we get rid of a lot of nonsense.

Where we go deep we could drop more things, but there’s no thinking away what the future philosophers might think which will be based on future science.

The body is a problem, maybe a good one, but still a problem.

We walk away midsentence.

We misread pain and medication as poem and meditation.

Our shoulders twitch like lupines in the wind, buttercups, and hawkweed.

It’s brighter.

I mean better.

If I want you to lose yourself in my story, I have to be willing to lose myself in yours.

I have a stinging tongue.

We’re getting somewhere.

Our guests sleep, but we’re awake and vigilant.

We develop a sentence theory of.

Our book is.

Our hair long.

We feel better.

Sometimes I can’t bear your beauty.

How often do you regret acts of impulsivity and is that regret great enough?

What convictions have hummingbirds in heaven?

Frequently we make turns automatically.  We find ourselves we don’t know where, but there’s a new dirt on our floor.

The good and bad behind us might be equal to the good and bad ahead.

Might we rearrange the lawn furniture to be happy, or at least happier?

It’s like a cake with layers of difficulty and layers of pleasure and eventually losing everything we love.

We hold a dying monarch in our hands and put her finally down on the sill of the shed.

What if the feeling is real, but maybe not true outside of its owner?

The shade comes after us.

Our brains loop around and around looking for the image to ground the idea, a tight complicated feeling.  We can’t breathe.  Then the Sunoco sign.  Then we wake up.

The river runs fast in the channel and the sun pours onto it so you document it, and the children read it.

Sometimes it’s like a pair of glasses and a hearing aid that ups it all.

You bake yourself flat.

Everything it took to get here, and nothing can be done with it.

Nonsentences don’t help us and sentences are never complete and water so flat and still and you are, I tell you, solid upon it, my author, my peony, my cupcake, my condition, my young one, my pillow.

At night in our insomniac boats, we hold ten foot long brushes and make easy sweeps on the ceilings.

We fly outwards into space and we never stop going out and we go inwards to the center and never stop going in.

Coming or going we have to leap the drainage ditch either way while time makes curvy roundish turns.

We are space-takers like clothes hung on a limited line.

When we leave, the absences slide in.

Albert is depressed, Fiona heartbroken, Plaatsburg philosophical.

I busy myself with kitchen tasks.

And when you say this and that, do you mean this reminds you of that feeling?

Is the sun returning?

The dog vomiting?

Am I lonely for my brother?

Mud runs through the freight yards.

We find a party.

We are unsober with glitter on our feet.

We wait on the line we draw.

We put out a chair.

We sit in the rotunda.

Until the relationships between objects become clearer, you will probably think things are happening to you.

Ban all ideas!

You watch rain fall on the surface of the vacuum.

What you’ve called sadness is only a superficial form of it.

World form is a speck in it.

There are many written word removal systems but only apologies for the spoken.

Prove me wrong.

I wish it was hard-covered.

I wish it was an objective situation like the water-holding limitations of a lake.

You think that this is worth doing because it’s for the others.

If I say this, if I name you, I bring you down.

Your death is the man on the road without a car or a man without a car on the road.


LESLE LEWIS’ collections include Small Boat (winner of the 2002 Iowa Poetry Prize), Landscapes I & II (Alice James Books, 2006), lie down too (Alice James Books, 2011), and  A Boot’s a Boot (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014). Her chapbook, It’s Rothko in Winter or Belgium was published by Factory Hollow Press in 2012. She has had poems appear in American Letters and Commentary, Northern New England Review, Hotel Amerika, Mississippi Review, The Cincinnati Review, Green Mountains Review, Barrow Street Mudfish, LIT, Pool, jubilat, notnostrums, and Sentence. She lives in New Hampshire and is a Professor of Creative Writing at Landmark College


Read more by Lesle Lewis:

Three poems at Notnostrums
Three poems at Connotation Press
Poem at Poets.org
Author’s Website