Poetry, Essays, and Reflections
MARY LEONARD: Poet
Like An Abandoned Bumper Car
© Mary C. Leonard
I spun in circles
yesterday, my turns
hitting unexpected sides.
I was driving on Broadway
but needed to be somewhere
else, somewhere where
I knew the signs.
I was lost in my own
city, adrift in a search
for silver mounds, sea thrifts.
All day I had accomplished
what I hadn’t planned.
My list said wallpaper
and I flipped through
geometric grids to Art Deco
I am six. The Rockettes skip and tap,
skip and kick and I kick the rose velvet
seats with my patent leather toes and
I reach across the seashell light for more
jujube beads to eat.
On paper everything seems
words become objects:
shades, housepaints, celery, oranges, Iphone6s
Lists do not list
meanderings, the time it takes
between celery and Iphone 6s
the absences, the substitutions,
the spins and near misses,
the search for stones that skip.
Silence is like a Series of Hyphens
© Mary C. Leonard
Like the darkness that night camping
along the Mississippi, so black
I thought I was dead, and then
I heard wolves, and I retreated
to the car, to the comfort of plastic
seats, the radio, the flick of the lighter
anything to interrupt the space
like all those empty thoughts we need.
In a photograph from the next day
I'm standing on a lavender hill,
a bluff overlooking the river
somewhere in Wisconsin,
looking as if the night before–
the dark silence, the wolves–
had been erased by orchestras.
Mary C. Leonard is a poet, humorist, teacher and journalist. Her poems, essays, short fiction, and mixed genre pieces have been published in numerous journals, including Hubbub, The Chronogram and Blotterature. She is also the author of four chapbooks. Mary was a finalist in the Hill-Stead Museum's Poetry Contest, and she won first prize in the Lucy Cady Lamphier Contest. Mary has been a dedicated teacher for decades and is known to leave an indelible impression on her students. She has taught at every level, from public high school to Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Since 1988, she has been an associate of the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College, where she taught incoming freshmen in the Language and Thinking program from 1990 through 1998. She also teaches a summer program for students in grades 10 through 12 at Bard College at Simon's Rock. The Young Writers Workshop is now part of the National Writing and Thinking Network, the largest consortium of summer writing programs in the country.