Jared Leising


grave, middle-of-the-night
messages that avoid small
talk or commercial inquiry.
As an epigraph, their rings
hint at what your ears will
hear; voices, soft and slow,
tugging at your line, and it's
quiet in both places—your
bedroom, their kitchens. It
is about getting to the point.
Every word presents pitfalls
to wind dry mouths around,
most sentences cul-de-sacs.
If only you could be shown
a picture of their past hours:
an ashen waiting room at the
hospital, a man breaking into
his cold, dim house to find her
note that reads, "I'm leaving."
That's why this is the hardest
part, you see their finish lines,
and you know how the stories
end: a damp voice is muffled,
a well filling with sand, while
the body in the bed beside you
waits, dreaming hard and fast.
She's even more remote, more
imaginative than you, and with
imagination comes fear. Dark
talk over miles of wire, it's like
driving with your eyes closed.
You know you're alone, bound
to hit something if you drive far
enough, because all roads bend
and this land won't give in.

Jared Leising

Jared Leising, originally from the Midwest, received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston. Currently, he teaches English at Cascadia Community College and is a volunteer for 826 Seattle, a youth writing center in Greenwood.