Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

LeighAnna Schesser

The secret to being a hero is accepting
the journey. You will know it by

this: it is the one you do not want to take.


To believe that words go back before the beginning. Come from.
That everything came from words
(light and water, wind and dust)
but us.

And we are clay. Or little piles of ash, clinging to breath and currents,
reaching for words, to use and stroke, but powerless. The words
have power over us.
Speak through us.

What is truth to speak it? What is truth that speaks?

A Word speaking words to word-makers,
little clay dolls at their potter’s wheels.


Sorrow is a grey mist and I am its keeper,
the crystal ball that traps it, tames it into
telling truths, a future. Always
the same one.

Sorrow folds itself like dough between
my palms, holds its breath and dives
down to rest like marrow
in my bones, to dry into ash,
then not even ash:
the hollow after,

that rises. To make me into bird
bones, empty enough to fly, too
empty to remember to whom.


How do I wait? How long?
The way you wait for a loved, lost thing.

LeighAnna Schesser lives in south-central Kansas with her husband, two children, half-wild garden, and many overstuffed bookshelves. She spends her days exploring the world and the arts with her toddler, snuggling and laughing with her baby, fiddling, and prioritizing good books and hot cups of coffee over housework. She earned her B.A. in Theology at Benedictine College and M.F.A. at North Carolina State University. Her work has appeared in Transcendence Magazine, Verse-Virtual, Synaesthesia Magazine, and Kindred. Her chapbook Heartland is forthcoming from Anchor & Plume in June 2016. She blogs at