Leanne Drapeau is a high school Language Arts teacher in Hartford, Connecticut. She works with students each year to revise and perfect a social justice oriented curriculum that uses literature to teach both reading and writing skills through the lens of critical literacy. Her poetry has been published in Triggerfish Critical Review and The Good Men Project. She is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee.
loneliness is a powerful thing, kafka
The pillow has done violence to my face
like a cloud crossing the moon.
Kafka follows me through all
the corridors of my memory
through all the blue rooms
of his blue book.
His ears catch the sunlight
and shine orange, bloodlit
veins like eyelids –
the inside –
His ears are lanterns
and his eyes are caves
his tongue is a candle
when there are rocks he goes
and when there is silence
he opens his mouth
and his tongue flickers
over words I hadn’t yet thought to say.
I think it might be true that we
choose the color we are,
Kafka. We choose the grey.
We collect things, and then we
dismantle them until arms
and legs are everywhere.
One day Kafka and I are sitting
on a stone wall we’ve found in the
woods and I am saying, over and
over, because he can’t quite hear
me through the years, I had wanted
bone broth, but I really didn’t
mean to use their bones to do it.
He smiles and his sharp face
almost cuts me.
We get lost in the folds
of my pillow and he chokes
on the down.
It is a mercy he is already dead.
you can judge the maps by where you got to
One night at home, after the break
I smelled my blood to remember it belonged to only me.
I wanted to ask him what it looked like,
the inside of my body
I wanted to watch when he split
my skin, I wanted to help him peel it back
so I could show myself to myself
and understand the course I was on
instead of waking up to metallic pain and a morphine
drip, my leg a thousand miles away
my memory hammered out tin, thin sheet,
crutches oaring me across that thick river
of bone hollow sour notes, wind bite, steel marrow
hinged door, nailed shut, and no reflection even, in the water
only a single image of a tear smeared face in the morning
a single image of sterilized silver tables and bright lights
I don’t remember my leg, but it is trying to remember me –
stunned nerves snaking out, a listening shiver.
And I don’t like to remember but can’t forget,
burning skin, broken glass, black smoke
your clenched jaw and closed fist, your eyes blue with tears,
our maps, with similar routes but different destinations.
love has all its teeth intact
“You are only borrowing this place from children you will never meet”
~ Cannupa Hanska Luger
ten hours of ice cracking
and snow falling in the arctic
and released it as an
ambient album for sleep.
Meanwhile the camps smoked.
Screams stretched over
the hollowed land –
the night a low drum
resonant with breaking
The recent glacier calving
was the largest ever recorded.
After, I dreamed that the EU
and Great Britain
were fighting over Greenland
The rest of the earth was water.
I woke to seven earth-sized planets
discovered while we burned ours.
Our bones buttress our bodies
but they are not enough
to protect the water, the earth,
and so we carry swords
in our mouths.
She cut her skin
and nourished the child
with her own blood
after the earthquake
when they were trapped
in the rubble for days
Imagine the salt
the copper taste
the body broken,
You cannot take
the teeth out of love
and still expect to feast.