An outhouse year.
Someone I love rips rags for tampons.
Someone I love speaks less & less.
Is the sky
ever too pink
to suggest you’re poor?
I am eleven—
having studied them
I introduce myself to Colonel Douglas R. and Jessica K. Smith
husband & wife
of Rockfords Golden Rule Market--
the Smiths of Asprey & Chanel
cashmere & city speech
of Beethoven’s italicized wonderment
I know because I asked
of Black-chauffeured blue Cadillac
& 2 Doberman Pinschers
guarding their brick Federal Colonial.
I am hired.
To neaten & clean,
to stock & cashier--
sometimes I pump gas.
On calendar-circled Saturdays
I utter Eames, rattan, Picasso
bone china, commissary, sparkle, miso
lacquer, Andrew Wyeth, linseed oil
poached, Shakespeare, Melba toast
duvet, Summer’s Eve, Harper Lee
salmon, invoice, Unleaded, Visa.
my family away
milk & cheese.
• • •
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RODNEY TERICH LEONARD is the author of Sweetgum & Lightning (Four Way Books, 2021). His poems have been published in BOMB, Four Way Review, the Cortland Review, What Rough Beast, and other journals. He holds an M F A in poetry from Columbia University. A native of Alabama, Rodney currently lives in New York City.