Three Poems



Stone heart. Stone deep. Stone minded. Turn to Stone. Stoned. Stone. I turn to stone when I’m argumentative. I turn to stone when I turn chaotic. My chaos is a bag of stones. I turn to stone when he is on fire. I will coat this in stones.  I turn.


I stone.                I roll my stone.              I palm my stone.         I serve my stone.


The stage has been set. This set has been staged. This set has been stoned by the stony-hearted. I am of the stony-hearted. I am heart-stone. I think the words I am looking for are ‘spite’ and ‘malice.’ No, you are stone-cold. You are the breaker of stones. You, stonecutter. You cut the head of my stone, but not my heart. Try to touch this. Touchstone. Touch the touchstone of my want.


Of my feast        Of my safety               Of my dark               Of my light             Of my truth


Of my false                 Of my tierce                Of my salt                   Of my sweet.


Your slaughter is in flame and slaughter is close to water, is close to laughter, is close to aught. I ought to be real here. I ought to think again. I ought to stammer this home in stones. Splint in stones. Sprint in stones. Glint in stones, but not gravel, not grovel. Not pebbled in fear. Here’s an interesting question. I mean the universe of language is designed to be a stone’s throw from possible, right? A stone’s throw from able. Wait. Didn’t Abel stone Cain? Didn’t Abel kill his brother? They were family. They were blood. Use your words. Keep your heart stony. Create a mouth from your eye, an eye from your mouth.  Use your stone heart has a harness. Use your eye as a hand.  All of you will have to leave something to someone.





Step into

This suffering

It is a stroke away from


It is a stroke away from


This claim

Is a forward regime.

Step into

This smouldering.

Step into

The smoudler.








This tragedy.

Step into

The gash

Step into

His hubris

This is not a choir.

I will not sing.

Step into

The masses.

Hear them.

At one point,

The fall

From fear

Felt terrific

But terror

Is akin to grace

Both leave

Us gasping.


We police.


We lure ourselves

To fight.

To resist.

To chant.

I said,

I wouldn’t sing

But I do,



My gasp

Is an idealized prayer

I don’t know what my gasp does.




I feel


In dream,


In hate,


In polarity

& returned

To the past.

I feel a part

Of the generous

Now gone.

But my spark

Is generous

It is a way.

It is a way

But also

Light-years ahead.

And still,

We could go up in



In horror.

In revolution.

In revolt.

We dilemma.

We plea.

It is not a wronged way, but

Step into

His famine.



Step into

His heart.

It is a step away

From murder.

All that gasping is for the ministry.

[Why is this feed so powerful?]

Use these gasps

As vows,


When we can’t.

This step

Is a root

This step

Is a purge

This step

Is a struggle of ends.

Justify the means.

His heart,

Is a dull stud,

Is in my study,

Is a study away from


I am putting this center.

I am not even sure if you’re afraid.





Among the openings,

among the falling and the shares,

the double curve,

that shock

is a lining up of wild dispersings

now spiked.

No liner.

No threat.

No doubtful blindsides.

It was my use of high winds.

It was my use of being.

It was my use of being

so tired of being this woman.



within the live-action of this truth,

the lies settle.

The lies dramatize.

The way we lament is revealing.

Look at how we lament for this year.

How we lament for this day.

How we lament for what might happen tomorrow.

Each fault is a passing wind,

but one that is full of thorns.

This day is a hurt plenty,

for how easy it must be to not feel,

to be as flippant as arrogance.

How easy it must be…

That is not my fury.

That is not my fretful singe.

This year.

This doubling.

This course of a faulty scale.

I can’t.

I can’t understand my anger.

I can’t understand the left sudden dream.

I want to believe love exists.

I want to believe in the light from distant stars,

but how can I fathom science,

when I am having so much trouble with facts.

Fact:  This is our President.

Fact:  This is disaster striking and our First Lady in stilettos.

Fact:  This is my yearning.

Fact:   I am not getting any younger.

Fact:  This is our President on Twitter.

I am doubtful

that the miracle is me.

I am doubtful

that the dream is me.

I am doubtful

when my doctor tells me I am the happiest she’s ever seen me.

I am doubtful

when my doctor says, “keep doing what you’re doing.”

I am doubtful

about this knot of legacy I will leave behind.

I know my falling and my shades,

those glass-led curiosities,

will never be enough.

You might not want to touch this.


Leah Umansky lives and teaches in NYC and is the author of The Barbarous Century (Eyewear Publishing 2018), among others. She earned her MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as POETRY, Magma Poetry, Barrow Street, Pleiades, Salamander, Plume, and the anthologies, The Eloquent Poem (Persea Books) and Misrepresented Peoples (NYQ Books). She is #teamkhaleesi & #teammaeve.



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