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Three Poems, by Leisha Douglas


Growth Chart

A redwood’s circles won’t reveal its rise
from loam to pungent, shadowy girth.

Names, dates, lines score a doorframe
but aren’t lives.

Map, territory, the correspondence between.
Our bodies dimly resemble who we were.

If I’d known you when you were ten,
would I know how to comfort you better now?

Where we’ve been, a patchwork of recall.
What we’ve been through, equally vague.

This urge to brand myself with an outline of your hands on my thigh.
What remains if you die before me?


Ants for All Seasons

The summer scourge canvassed the countertop.
Without apparent schedule,
haphazard black lines,
impromptu passagiate.

By September,
a pitched battle with vacuums,
bulwarks of diatomaceous earth,
weeks of truce, then sudden onslaughts
declaring the power of the collective small.

Despite temperatures in the teens,
stragglers cross the kitchen floor,
lost pilgrims in a cold, flat land.
In tunnels below,
their brethren raise the young,
guard the queen.

A man walks Antarctica,
drags a sled,
aims to set a record,
while his wife cheers him on
on a satellite phone
from a Manhattan apartment.

To forgo the familiar,
trudge inhospitable landscapes,
risk exposure, demise.
Bravery, mania, instinct?

Desperation is another possibility,
though these ants wind leisurely
as if taking in sights and smells.



Under ice, water
flashes like silver fish
surging upstream.
Rocks, fallen trees,
nothing obstructs
for long.
Eddies spin.
Crystalline patterns
shear, crack.
Despite season
or weather,
the river remakes itself.
Whatever impedes,
loses original form,
much as
this body
will succumb,
its ashes coalesce into
root and stone.

(Image: René Magritte’s La Victoire (The Victory), 1939)


  • Leisha Douglas's writing is published in The Alembic, Big Muddy, Bluestem, Corium Magazine, The Cortland Review, Crack the Spine, decomP, Forge, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Helix, HitchLit Review, Hobart, The Minetta Review, and many other journals and magazines. She is a psychotherapist and yoga teacher.

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