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John Leo

Bestiary: Indiana


Canadian geese stop here,

leaning on my Jeep Cherokee,

smoking Marlboro Reds,

looking very very tough.

It's American made, the car.

I have driven it from here

to Texas many times.

The geese, they don't understand

how hard it's been.


Nearby, a hedge where C

found a yowling cat.

He was orange, skeletal,

crying in the night.

It sounded like he was saying



He is at the clinic today.

They have not given him long.

We woke as a family before dawn.

We chewed glass.

It was the kind of pain that comes easy.


I crushed a firefly against the door.

We went around in the night,

my right hand glowing yellow.

I blessed whoever came by.

C liked me so much she caught another

hundred fireflies, undressed me,

painted me with their radiation,

even my eyeballs.

We wanted everyone to see.


Gulls at Lake Michigan.

We tossed out french fries.

The birds caught them midair,

wheeled. They didn't thank us;

why should they?

I picked a fight with a biker,

told him I had nothing to lose.

It was summer.


John Leo's writing has appeared in Tinderbox, Reality Beach, and elsewhere. He is an MFA candidate and teaching fellow at Butler University in Indianapolis.

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