VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Leah Mueller

The Great Reset

Fuck trigger warnings 

and the new normal.

Give me danger.

Late-night 

standing ride

between train cars:

our sweaty hands

clutched side chains

to avoid falling

onto the tracks.

Pre-dawn drunk beside

the lake: insistent

police spotlights 

swept the sand

after the beach closed 

for the evening. 

We hid bottles

under shirts, as

reckless waves 

drowned our laughter. 

Now, we block

apertures, stand

upwind from crowds,

pray that nothing hits us.

When you’re

scared to breathe,

every part 

of you belongs to 

someone else.

Your body,

a willing sacrifice.

Your mind, a stain 

beside the tracks.

Throw a few 

more limbs

into the flames,

smile as you

watch them burn. 

After every 

molecule vaporizes, 

you will finally

own nothing, and

you will be happy.

Sodom and Lot

Fistfuls of cinders

on the Washington coast,

scattered like weeds

to indifferent waves.

Ocean’s jaws open wide, 

swallow your body’s remnants.

I remember how 

your arms encircled

my drowning shoulders,

pulled me to solid ground.

Your mouth uttered

my name like chocolate,

its cadence warm

as a radio deejay’s.

Then your frozen eyes,

long, hairless legs,

and genitals, grown

shrunken and useless.

Don’t turn around: run faster, 

until you reach a more genial place.

No one will ever find us again. 

No one will even remember to look.

Deities

Eros keeps 

me returning 

for juice, 

holding out 

my tarnished cup 

for more. 

My cranium 

overflows

from the thrust

of his words,

and I spill

the fluids

all over myself.

He dribbles

down my chin,

makes dark stains

between my breasts.

Eros brings 

entire scrolls 

of new verses, 

recites them

one after another:

until the next

thing I know, 

I’ve melted like wax

into his mattress.

Though my cup

is half-spent, and

my thirst unquelled, 

I am clutching 

the handle, and I

am singing.

Winning the Internet

Laundry in moldering piles:  

brain slack, disheveled. Your eyes fixed 

on the same spot for hours. Everyone 

knows the answer, repeats endless lines

as if repetition can forge truth from opinion. 

Chatter of magpies on shaky branches, 

mad rush to dominance. Typed words 

on an illuminated screen, thumbnail face 

inside a circle. Speck-sized, easily eradicated,

like a persistent fly. Rush forward,

grab the spotlight. Your keystroke joust

goes straight to the solar plexus. Watch

without expression as bodies fall. 

You lose track of how many.

Soon you will forget their names,

and they yours. But for now,

nothing is more important than victory.

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