Steven Leyva

“I know you’re never gonna wake up”

The dark irony of Ariana Grande now: “Head in the clouds, got no weight on my shoulders.” How much was the IED like all the others? Was it a strap on? Is this, in the end, about lust? “I’ve got one less problem without you.” The concert’s bright cusp made of neon blood. Are you okay. K? U.K.? A maw must have opened in the crowd’s body, people careening, all elbows and knees, seeking the tepid streets now wet with sweat and mucus and blood. “I should be wiser and realize.” In the middle of that maw, before it opened, there was a man like a tongue slipping around teeth.


Consider the shuttlecock
its deft lightness, its rubber nose
unbent, its attention to racket,
its fear of the ground, its willingness
to lob or smash, its whiteness, its penchant
for being held
afloat by the slightest breeze and histories
of swing, how it needs to be
batted between two players,
how it recognizes their want;
consider its feathers, its plastic, its conical
shape suggesting hierarchy, and always
its weight in your hand, how it seeks to be served.

Steven Leyva was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Houston, Texas. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 2 Bridges Review, Fledgling Rag, The Light Ekphrastic, The Cobalt Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is a Cave Canem fellow, the winner of the 2012 Cobalt Review Poetry Prize, and author of the chapbook Low Parish. Steven holds an MFA from the University of Baltimore, where he is an assistant professor in the Klein Family School of Communications Design.

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