MAKING SENSE OF IT
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.