Two Poems by Leisha Douglas


After a childhood void of dolls
there were years of prophylactics
and the uncertain declaration
maybe, if the relationship were right.

When my body asserted itself,
I felt betrayed.
Pregnancy was a punishment
I didn’t want to endure.
It went on like that—
insistent body, rebellious mind.
My mind afraid to say
absolutely not.

After years of my body in protest,
sex coupled with dread.
I lost the desire to spend the night with a man.
I prefer separate beds.
I prefer a body muted by age.
I prefer the clarity when I say
I do not regret my choice.


When beetles remake themselves into lanterns
it will be summer and you will be gone a half a year.

To find the place of you inside me
is like turning soil continuously
yet expecting a crop to grow.

There is nothing left to touch.
No form where once you were.

You are now stories we remind ourselves to tell.
Those who think they knew you edit details.
The sorry remains of your history are politely omitted.

Skin boat that once carried me,
may you join the mind of rivers and sky.

Leisha Douglas’s poems have appeared in The Alembic, The Cortland Review, decomP, Forge, Ghoti, Ginbender Poetry Review, Hakomi Forum, Helix, The Minetta Review, and Sanskrit.