Leah Mueller

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Bisbee, Arizona.  She is the author of several prose and poetry books, published by numerous small presses. Her latest chapbook, “Land of Eternal Thirst” (Dumpster Fire Press) was released in 2021.  Leah’s work appears in Rattle, Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and elsewhere. Visit her website at www.leahmueller.org.


Deep inhale, full exhale.
Front door opened wide,
as the dervish breeze
relentlessly chases itself.

So much life glimpsed 
through dusty metal squares.

Now: mid-afternoon 
sprawls in child’s pose, 
waits for the blackout curtain. 

Rust-red mountains, painted 
with a dirty brush, their jagged
fangs exposed. My home rests

on the hillside, front door screen 
secured with a flimsy hook, 
grip tenuous yet obstinate. 

Sip coffee from a yellow cup,
watch as summer unrolls its drapery.  
Perhaps I’ve always been here 
and never meant to leave. 

The wind returns me to my room,
so I have given up resisting.

A Land Without News

At least you won’t hear the reports
from the alpine perch
where your body landed.

You won’t suffer through 
mortality counts, when 
you’re almost dead yourself,
but expected to care. No culture bullfights, 

fresh meat for sale at the back door 
after a kill. If you wait long enough, 
you might get a few scraps at reduced cost. 

No shrieks of newsfeeds and ambulances. 
Just your own gray matter, free
to ponder galaxies without interruption.

That leftover chair you padded
against protruding bones, bare
and starving. No reason for weight;
you have given up hovering

and left me to my grievances. 
Death is hard on the living,
the dead can’t be bothered. Nothing 

to see except bad news, and 
the promise of more tomorrow, until 
you need to die to get away from it.

Tucumcari Satori

Previously published by Madrigal Magazine

Toad hopped away
from the gas campfire,
made its way in my direction.
A purposeful beast,

Toad had watched the flames
from a safe distance, and
determined it was free from threat.

It paused for a moment
like a stray cat and
allowed me to stroke its back.

Toad was in no hurry to leave.
I worried it might be stunned
by a second story balcony drop
from the nearby Roadrunner Motel.

The owners pumped
60s commercials nonstop
through vintage radio speakers

and monitored their ice machine
for scofflaws. Toad
was zen. Toad had been
around the parking lot before.

It took off, finally,
hopping through the uneven gravel
towards the office,
in full view of predators.

Amphibian on a mission.
There could be moisture 
behind the washing machine,
or some discarded vegetable matter.

You take what you can find
in the desert, especially 
if you’re born without

spikes and claws. Toad
hops. That is its only defense.

Meanwhile, I can barely climb
the wrought iron staircase
to my hundred-dollar mattress.

Once there, it will take hours
for me to get comfortable.

I imagine Toad’s sleep 
will be deeper than mine.

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