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Spring/Summer 2018


by Steven Leyva



slick cherry boughs labyrinthine

as steampunk pipework,


last night’s rain and leftover

torrid odor on the breeze,


daylight, and the moon are nude.
Baltimore’s skyline smolders


like a rusted through furnace 

in a basement of heaven.


against an anvil of light

a black girl strikes the empty


streets with a plain kickball

until morning is fully dressed


in a house-robe and slippers

of laughter. Would anyone argue


laughing alone

in the cool after dawn 


isn’t a sharp prayer,

as much as the first brushstroke


against primed canvas, or the pen-

ultimate hole rust eats 


through a furnace?

and what of the industrious cherry


trees budding despite a summer

full of bullets to come?


Perhaps a bud is minor lit

candle on the boughs 


which neither the breeze 

nor the fog colored waxwing 


can snuff. Perhaps the blossom 

imagines a people to come.   


Photo: Chuck Huru

Steven Leyva was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Houston, Texas. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 2 Bridges Review, Fledgling Rag, The Light Ekphrastic, The Cobalt Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is a Cave Canem fellow, the winner of the 2012 Cobalt Review Poetry Prize, and author of the chapbook Low Parish. Steven holds an MFA from the University of Baltimore, where he is an assistant professor in the Klein Family School of Communications Design.

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