Megan Leonard
Looking at Les Raboteurs De Parquet in the Musee D’orsay and Thinking About Wood Floors



how she walks across floorboards at night

I don’t know if it’s her warm feet

that made the floor smooth

or if the smooth floor enticed

the soles of those warm feet      made them get up

when they should be sleeping

she thinks to boil water

she thinks to pull the curtains      but can’t

there’s a leopard under the bed  

though no one can see it

it will eat her whole

she doesn’t know who she wants

to miss her.






oh I love I love I press

my cheek on the floor

it is wood I can see in the joints

the crumbs the dirt that get stuck there

vacuum doesn’t get them up

nor does the broom

I could be the wood floor

feel my heart press thump

against the warm wood

and we all think the same thing, don’t we,

feeling vivid this morning

must turn things down a notch

if I will survive

the trees, the sidewalk,

the people in their red

and yellow rainboots.






no but it isn’t the light

and it isn’t the fancy women peering in and saying

c’est lui qui a tout déclenché.

nor is it the ropey arms of the young men or their backs

and it isn’t the varnish or the planes

and not quite –  the scraping away

it is the smooth color beneath that scraping:

I am awake.

I wake up again.



Remember the revolting smallness

of your baby teeth, found packed in cotton

in a sequined box when you finally came home?

As a child you discarded nothing.

As a child, you loved every small

sharp part of yourself. 

What strange creatures we all knew then, what remedies:

the snake with the rooster’s head

the fish that could turn itself inside out.

A white feather stuck straight up in the mud

to be turned around three times backwards.

You knew what spinning meant back then.

You knew how to pack things carefully.

Writing to You from Our Lady of the Airways


I thunked a quarter in the wooden box

just to hear the red electric candles

chirp on with their little click-whir

I lit three for your mother

‘cause she birthed you out cold

and raised you up cold.

I’m predisposed to love everything

which I guess is why you’re still with me,

though it’s getting impolite. 

When we stood in the mud

on a clear-cut hill and looked down at the city

you said looks like smog.

Lately I’ve been thinking with my fingertips

instead of my feelings,

and I love the word lung

but it’s so hard to work into conversations.

I’m jaded for real this time,

though I pretend it came sooner than it did.

My mother sent you a 342-character text message:

a goldfish taught her a walking meditation,

she saw a mourning dove,

it changed her life, she’s a new person.

Never mind we’ve lived in the wilderness for a decade now.

Never mind the bears come right up and sit on our lawn chairs.

That mourning dove, well that was something.



low-ceilinged pigeon life

blue sky grey sky white sky life

traffic sings       whale-song distance

red rib tiles, stacked

asphalt shingles     little cats

widow’s walks    no widows

holes in screen

fewer bugs


rooftop light sleeks

cheap blinds

hair turns orange, red.

could have had flagstones

glass temper tantrums

parking in winter    doorbells


instead we have morning.

so make the bed with me in it

shake the sheets

over the ditch of me   

my body caves the mattress   

loving in imprint:

keep the ducklings in the bathtub

where last year we bled the pigs.