Two poems by Leah Umansky

A Real Poem –


In love, there are times where unprecedented things happen.
I’ll just say it here: I have never been to battle,
but I battle every day.

We speak a part. Studies show this. We speak a part,
as we are made of parts. We are partly made of mothers.


There’s only two moments in a life, but I don’t want to talk about
Authority. I know there is no expiration date.


The great bird of me is on guard.
The great bird of me is discovering the floor and the ceiling of this life.
I am not endorsing dramatics; I am merely stating the obvious.
Everything comes down to power.


I’m not interested in conquest, but in value.
We can decide the way we are spoken to.
I am deciding it now.


I can hear hope everywhere.
Poetry is lonely times,
But poetry is also language,
And also social,
It is about personhood.
I choose sound.
It is a way to enter.
It is a way.

(originally published in Magma)

this is a poem about survival

To be honest         the smallest hole of truth is a dungeon        It is disorienting.

I choose the choice I’ve made a thousand times

I want to say bless, but I mean wild. I want to say wild,        but I mean, bloody.

The best place in the world is to be here         with me.

[This is a hell of a job being human]

There is so much to consider.        There is so much to satisfy.        There is so much         to feel.         I can close myself like a fish,         hook-lipped and thin,         bloody my mouth with metal,         all to regard the calm of the sea,         the sea.

See the barreling of my want

(originally published in Whiskey Island)

Leah Umansky is the author of four books of poems, most recently The Barbarous Century, (Eyewear Publishing, 2018). She lives and teaches in New York City. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as Poetry, Magma, Barrow Street, Salamander, and Pleiades. Some of her Game of Thrones inspired poems have been translated into Norwegian and Bengali. Twitter @lady_bronte