Mare Leonard – 4 poems 

Still Life Red Canna


You left Stieglitz for six months

every year, living in Abiqui

with your chow dogs only.

You painted the landscape outside

your house: the badlands, the bones,

the hills, your door 17 times,

its red more alive than the Canna lily.


Sometimes I imagine us sipping tea

from the cups of red lilies, your witch eyes

seeing inside me, Write anything

you want, but do it with passion,

precision, telling secrets

men believe only they possess.


When you grew old, eyesight failing,

you let in a young potter to care

for your house. You arranged shows

for him.  He taught you how

to throw pots, to see with your hands.


I read that if you saw something

you liked you slipped it in your pocket.

You stole this man.  You felt

an austere passion: the red petals

of the lily, smooth feathers

hiding music that makes

              holes in the sky. 





Pawley’s Island  Seascape


The decorator shakes her head.

 I can’t fix this plain Jane.


The blues don’t match: the sky

washes out the deep aqua sea.


The greens don’t blend: Palm trees

overshadow the faded dune grass.


 The creamy shells disappear

 in the gold and rocky sand.


This will never do. She purses

her lips, sighs in despair


 stares at the sky, the sea,

 and hypnotized by the  swish


of waves, lies down in the hammock,

while blues and greens run amok on the beach. 





Star Crossed Lovers



Even as she writes this, she sees

you walking on the Camino Del Monte Cristo

hears the sounds of Spanish so foreign

but certainly not to you: shoulders thrown back,

head cocked to the mountains, but eyes

on a street game. Por favor Senor?

You pick up the ball,  toss it to the kid,

wishing you could play instead of sprawling

 in front of the TV, whooping and hollering

 for the Red Sox. Only during the commercials,

 only when your beer is emptied do you lift

 your head from an antimacassar on the back

 of your chair only then do you glance

 at your shelves, pick up a rock, her rock,

 and remember when you cracked the geode

 finding at its center, a fossil, a star.


The last time she saw you

was like the space between time zones,

when two people float toward each other

but don’t know night from day.

She told you she did not want

to be a collectible, not even a star fossil,

but even as she said that, she wanted

to fold you into a book, to be hidden

in some dark corner of a library

under some arcane topic from another

 era like antimacassar. Even then,

 you would walk off, without a glance,

 even then you would walk off wearing

 only star-crocheted lace on your head. 





Civilized at last


According to legend, Romulus and Remus were twins abandoned by their mother and nursed by a wolf until found by a shepherd who raised them. When older, they decided to build a city  on the spot where the wolf had found them. They quarreled over the site. One wanted one place and the other said, this one!  Romulus won and so Rome was built on his hill and named after him. But this is legend and Rome was not built in a day.


I put a photo of the twins on Facebook,

                eight months old  Paolo scowling  Sylvia smiling

 53 Likes    so cute  so lucky  congrats.


 At ten months  Paolo devours a big bowl of pasta

                Lily nibbles   she’s a lovely bird   big eyes  tiny mouth 

one curl on top   a cockatoo


Sylvia could  balance on a branch    singing the high notes

                 but swings in her jump seat

Paolo  teeter totters    falls forward    lets out a wolf yowl.


Sylvia’s happy with Cheerios

                 Paolo  hungry and teething  gnaws

my finger like a juicy rib.


At the beach  they notice the other   grab and pull 

                not property   not hills  

only a pail and red shovel.


I post a video of the brawl  on Facebook

                screech, howl, screech  

so cute, so typical, wait ’til they have to share the Ipad


A bird and beast raised by humans

                They’ll never fight over hills in Italy

 never be   Romulus and Remus

                 those brothers saved by wolves.


These twins?  ordinary kids tagging

                  their castles with beach glass

destroying moats with one sweep of their hands.


Soon we’ll tame them    use your words

                when they bite  screech  push  yowl

 throwing their heads back into the wild.


On Facebook   Friends will see them strapped

                 into a double stroller   blinders on either side

 53 Likes    so cute  so lucky  grown up at last. 




Mare Leonard’s work has appeared most recently in A Rat’s Ass,  Perfume RiverThe Courtship of Wind,  Bindweed,  Forage, New Verse News, The Chronogram and Communicator’s League  She lives in an old school house overlooking the Rondout Creek.  Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches writing workshops for all ages through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College. 

By Heavenly Flower Publishing

Bindweed Magazine publishes two anthologies each year: Midsummer Madness and Winter Wonderland. Bindweed is run as a not for profit, labour of love endeavour by an author/poet couple: Leilanie Stewart and Joseph Robert. Bindweed can be found at

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