Sensei Izzy instructs—look before you move,
you never know what might be behind you—
Wall, enemy, ally, shadow, tree, a toddler
given freedom to roam, requires one
banana-nut muffin, many hands, 56
minutes to walk one Brooklyn city block.
Up close, red hawks seem enormous. But
still not big enough to explain how they
make such bird-shaped holes, scraping
open the sky, teaching us reality. Flying
winged shadows across streets, buildings, forgotten
walls. If I could offer my head to the stars I would.
Not so practical for 2 pm pick up—allies, enemies,
all the other mothers will have their heads attached,
not be bringing starlight as an afterschool snack.
In the condo that belongs to my dead
mother-in-law, a coat rack resembles a tree.
Pyramid sounds like permit if said fast enough.
Is this enough to excuse human sacrifice?
My apologies. Let me pack up the starlight
in the pyramid of my body. So nicely quarried
in my flesh and the tippy top capstone so much
closer to the hawks’ descent. Sometimes Sensei,
you must move first, or risk never looking again.
Scraping against a shadow I cannot see, licking
crumbs of what could be called a muffin, if I were
a toddler, if every minute were a year, if my
all, my everything, were but a single beakful of
afterearth snack—awaiting ravishment by
Sensei-to-Wind-and-Trees, I stumble, skin free.
KRISTA J.H. LEAHY is the co-author of Nothing But Light (Circling Rivers, 2022). Her poetry has appeared in The Common, Denver Quarterly, Free Lunch, Raritan, Reckoning, Tin House, and elsewhere. Her prose has appeared in Clarkesworld, Farrago’s Wainscot, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy and elsewhere. She would like to thank both Banff and Vermont Studio Center for the gift of time. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.