Dan Leach : Strays and For Light : Poetry : April 2019

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I once moved to Nebraska. This after 28 years of legitimate southern living in upstate South Carolina. For two cold hard Midwestern years, I shivered inside a corn farmer’s coat and dreamt of the day I’d come back South. Praise God: I don’t need to dream anymore.



Return sometime
From that dream of dying.
Stumble back
Still slick with sweat
From that other place.

What then?
Rise is what.
Make the coffee.
Sit in the chair
By the open window.

And know that
It’s your heart
Breaking the blue
Of the morning
Into pieces.

It’s your heart,
Still singing,
Still confusing
All those battered
Gospel tunes.

Battered, listen:

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That wretched
A saved like me.

Call everyone
You’ve hurt.
Tell them the truth:
You won’t always
Be this way,

Tell them a world
Without resurrections
Ain’t worth a warm
Cup of spit. Tell them
Wait and see.

You, too, must wait,
Must sip your coffee,
And look outside,
Must try to remember
How the old song goes.

Broken, sing:

I once was found
But now am lost.
Could see
But now am blind.



Swear tomorrow
I’ll wake up scratching,
A stray at resurrection’s
Tattered back-door flap.

But if you call me,
I’ll come forth.
If you hold me,
I’ll be still.

I’ll submit
As you snap back
This black arrangement
Of bones and bad ideas.

Tomorrow: why not?
And when you stitch me
Back together, leave room
This time for light.

This time when you
Fix me, fix also my heart.
Make it something
Someone here can use.