February 25, 2022

by Simon Leonard


We watched the impact through a jumble of verbs,

scrawled on the glass classroom wall;

students bent low over grammar.

Bea blew out her cheeks and that was it:

silence on both sides of the aquarium.

She was the boss, as well as American.

I would have expected it to mean more.

Maybe it just took tools we didn’t have

to make sense 

of all that dust and damage.

I tried with Brendan, my flatmate, 

later on in the corner bar,

dull with cheap whiskey,

trusting peanut shells 

to a narrow stretch of laminate, 

on their way to the floor.

The bar woman swept through 

whatever mess finished up her day,

Marigolds and housecoat shielding all 

but the hated tangle of her hair.

Cleaning over clean, extending the stain 

of bleach on life

with tired mop water . . . 

As we watched a muddled celebration 

on the streets of Ramallah,

I said it was the day Tom Clancy came true.

Going for clever, I missed.



An English teacher most of the time, Simon Leonard writes short and micro-fiction in both English and Spanish, as well as poetry. When the desire for recognition overcomes the anxiety of not being good enough, he offers work for publication. Examples can be found in Orbis, Envoi, Ink, Sweat and Tears and What Rough Beast, among others. Several of his pieces of short fiction have been shortlisted in competitions, although he has never won anything.