Prostrate & Dark, Already

By Leah Mueller

Lying on the floor
        between the stereo speakers
   wormhole notes
             fill my head, sink in
    clumsy waves to bone.
The music carries my ears
             skyward, and the rest of
       me sprawls immobile on the floor,
           arms spread wide in surrender.
One car passes
          in the street below, backfires
    slightly as it coughs for gas
                   and I almost don’t notice,
   as I drown in the warm chocolate
                       intervals of silence,
            the sticky pauses
                 that lead effortlessly
                                     to sound.



Don’t ever die, Bob Dylan-
while your hoarse voice travels
the highway, my ears
eat roadside gravel
and spit out the pieces
I no longer understand.

One day, your prophecies will
fail to transmit a signal,
no matter how frantically
I twist the dial.

Already we see less of you:

your iconic hat, and Sara,
Mr Jones, and the rest of the party
of vagabonds, travelers from nowhere

headed towards an important place.
I listen for the stories, but
you have long since
grown weary of telling them.

If anything, the world
has grown worse, but no one sings
the way you do, like a staple gun
gone amok, pinning everything
to the wall. I watch
the corners for signs of transformation.
Perhaps it will come
next year, or a decade from now.

Is there anything left
for you to say, or someone
with the same message, who
can take over when you
finally disappear?

The volunteer hangman
steps onto the platform
vows to detonate the entire bundle
and start from the beginning
as if nothing happened.
There isn’t much you
or anyone can do.

Meanwhile, I sing to forget
death, and the fear of love
in the face of it. Your voice
spits rain in my ears, hard
and gentle. I fall asleep
with my brain full of words,
and the darkness comes down
like an avenging god.


Leah Mueller is an independent writer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of one chapbook, “Queen of Dorksville” (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2012), and two full-length books, “Allergic to Everything” (Writing Knights Press, 2015) and “The Underside of the Snake” (Red Ferret Press, 2015). Her work has been published in Blunderbuss, Sadie Girl Press, Origins Journal, Talking Soup, Silver Birch Press, Cultured Vultures, and many other publications. She is a regular contributor to Quail Bell magazine, and was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival. Leah was also a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest.