January 9-15, 2023: Poetry from Joan Leotta and S.F. Wright

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Joan Leotta

Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. She performs tales featuring food, family, and strong women. Widely published, including on Poetry Super Highway and Haikuniverse. A member of the NC Poetry Society, Sisters in Crime, Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Tar Heel Tellers, she writes in several genres. Leotta is a 2021 and a 2022 Pushcart nominee and was a 2022 runner-up in Robert Frost Competition. Her new chapbook, Feathers on Stone, is out from Main Street Rag. Her earlier book is Languid Lusciousness with Lemon.

The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Joan Leotta and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Soundtrack for a Solitary Walk

A morning breeze whips out from
behind a nearby loblolly pine, to
rustle loosen a pinecone that
bounces, then rolls
along the path in front of e
until a squirrel’s paws
captures it with a ch ch ch at me
in case I intended to claim his prize.

Rounding the curve toward home,
mist now’s dispersed by smiling sun.
I step onto my porch.
I know voices, and the sound
and aroma of brewing coffee
wait for me on the other side
of the door, away from the woods.

I stop a moment,
not sure if I am ready
to leave woods’ walking music.
Then I hear my beloved call my name.
I open the door and go inside

S.F. Wright

S.F. Wright lives and teaches in New Jersey. His work has appeared in Hobart, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and Elm Leaves Journal, among other places. His short story collection, The English Teacher, is forthcoming from Cerasus Poetry, and his website is sfwrightwriter.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by S.F. Wright and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Marty

He was in my
Creative writing class:
A big guy
Who donned
Safari hats,
An army jacket,
Cargo pants,
Doc Martens.
A meaty face
With an expression perpetually of
Consternation
And worry,
As though he knew that
Everyone was doomed.
In between classes,
He’d puff on
Marlboros outside.

A classmate said
That Marty had
Spent eight years
In the army,
Which would make sense,
As he looked around 30.

As for his writing—
None of it was good,
But one story
Was truly, terribly
Unforgettable:

A disgruntled
Army vet named Micky
Attends college
And tries to steer
His life in a
New direction.
But his plans are thwarted
By aliens who have,
For some reason,
Black eyes.
Micky, adept at self-defense,
Is able at first
To fight them off,
But the aliens
Are too powerful;
And though they let
Micky’s family go,
They take Micky
Into a garage
And rape him.
“Ahhhh!” Micky cries,
During the
Only dialogue.
“Ahhh, you son of a bitch!”

“Very compelling,” I wrote.
“Held my interest.
Certainly didn’t see
That ending coming.”
In class,
Most people were silent;
A few made positive
Yet vague comments
About the pace,
Originality;
Yet no one mentioned,
Even alluded to,
The alien rape.
The entire time,
Marty sat there, silent,
With that same look of
Consternation and worry—
Only it was
More intense,
More troubled.

I saw him
A few times on campus
The following semester;
Always smoking,
Always appearing
Agitated;
But after that semester,
I stopped seeing him;
And shortly thereafter,
I graduated.

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