Poems by Leah Mueller

“High Altitude Veganism”
            By Leah Mueller

Spicy jackfruit and
black bean tacos
on a ceramic plate,
5500 feet above sea level.

I say, “I read that
food is best
at higher altitudes,”

and, mouth full
of jackfruit, you agree.

I can’t recall where
I discovered this fact,
or whether I
made it up myself.

Chipotle and jalapeno
taste better six miles
from the Mexican border.

Somewhere, a coyote
sings beneath
the harvest moon.

Somewhere, a cow
chews clumps
of sagebrush.

Pass me another
bottle of porter.

Life continues apace,
despite all our efforts
at subjugation.

“Air Sign Mother”
            By Leah Mueller

Hung the photos of my kids on the wall of my new house today. They’re not kids anymore. My son just turned thirty. Daughter is twenty-four. Intense adults, melancholy in the way of their generation, Pluto in Scorpio, Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn. Nolan is a Capricorn and Hana is a Virgo. In one photo, Nolan grips a small rubber ball shaped like Saturn. I got it for him at Denny’s in 1991. I accidentally threw away the ball while our family was packing to move to another town. Fourteen-year-old Nolan spotted his toy, dove into the Dumpster, and retrieved it. Now, when he visits me from London, he says casually, “You know, I still have that Saturn ball.” Hana just lost her day care job due to the Coronavirus. She loved those kids more than she loves herself. Hana’s more sensitive than I was at her age. I’m an Aquarius. I blow things off and intellectualize them because it’s the only way I can cope. Also, I’m curious about everything and like to explore. My kids always preferred to stay inside. Inside is okay, but I need to have a choice. All my kids’ photos were taken inside, except a solitary outdoor shot of nine-month-old Hana at a frenemy’s wedding. The ceremony was on an island. All the attendees were hipsters. There were a couple of other babies, both dressed in androgynous clothes. In the photo, Hana wears a hat with a big white rose and looks pissed. She already knows the score. She appears angrier still in the tiny cruise ship photo, clutching her favorite Beanie Baby. I wonder why I never noticed how troubled my kids were. Troubled just seemed normal to me. Nolan looks happiest in the Saturn ball photo. He liked having something solid to hold on to.

- Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Bisbee, Arizona. She has published books with numerous small presses. Her most recent volumes, "Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices" (Czykmate Press), "Death and Heartbreak" (Weasel Press), and "Cocktails at Denny's" (Alien Buddha Press) were released in 2019. Leah’s work appears or is forthcoming in Blunderbuss, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She won honorable mention in the 2012 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest.

Copyright©2020 by Leah Mueller. All Rights Reserved