Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Leah Sewell’

48. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Leah Sewell

One long-haired wheat-headed baby was born with a microburst
in June in a ragtag pad above a storefront on Mass.
The first window crackled apart, a limb flew,
severed an awning, toppled a cross on a country
church south of town, the whole edge
of the state shook and cursed in cacophony
but little hasty prayers went up like campfire sparks
into the inky sky. One woman, her own kind of bolt,
saw through the end of one storm and the life of another. Wheat-
haired babe woke to the rain of glass and mother’s eyes like stars.
— Leah Sewell

63. Tornado Drill

I wore my backpack backwards,

so with cleaving textbook corners

and the weight of bologna and a fruit cup,

I was pregnant fleeing the great drone

of the tornado drill tornado.

I lost a shoe in the gleaming hall

and shy Kelly, who played the trombone in music,

rescued it for me, pinching the ribbon.

Safely sheparded into the capsule gymnasium,

we hugged our wooden knees and balloon hearts,

tucked our crystalline brains down

at the place in our bodies where the halves

of future babies stirred and sighed.

The fake tornado felt like my father

when his veins wormed plumper

and his words became spit.

I was banished to my room.

I stood, braced my aching

book weight, and went.

– Leah Sewell

Leah Sewell lives in Topeka, Kansas with her two children and husband, Matt. She is the creator and facilitator of the Topeka Writers’ Workshop, the features editor of seveneightfive magazine, the editor of XYZ Magazine, and has had work published in Flint Hills Review, Coal City Review, Inscape, Blue Island Review and other small independent journals.

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