Sunset dances, sky-lilacs swaying;
to welcome the moon to the smoking sky;
flames flicker at horizon’s edge
to bid Bosnia’s sun farewell.
Grey day becomes
gales drowning out
a gunfire symphony.
City of ruin,
bricks become shrapnel
bridges crumble; like the bread drowning in rivers,
street lamps break,
crater fires light the snipers’ cold way.
dawn scratches at dust-eyed survivors,
clouds slump into basements,
bringing the smell of cordite and earth
of another shattered sunrise.
Stalk the libraries,
wolf that swallows words,
hunting the stacks,
scenting the titles,
in the card catalogue.
Forest of the dead,
sniff through the charnel,
weave through the copses:
nonfiction and biography
like willows and ashes.
The hunt goes on,
search through a meadow,
garden magazines flutter, colorful,
Nat-Geo daisies and lilies from Vogue.
The trail is found:
amidst sickly sweet dictionaries,
and turnip-bitter outdated travel guides.
the prey lurks in the ‘A’s.
Search shelf by shelf, until at last,
Austen uncovered, the hunt complete.
A rare morsel,
literature from a corseted woman’s pen,
romance with bite and wit,
a lick of lemon, sugar cracking in the teeth
old stories that gnaw in a hungry new world.
Tain Leonard-Peck writes poetry, plays, and short stories, and is completing his first novel. He is also an actor, monologist, and model. He paints and composes music, and is a competitive sailor, skier, and fencer. His work has been published in literary journals, including the 2020 Anthology of Youth Writing on Human Rights & Social Justice; TAEM; Sleet Magazine; The Elevation Review; Idle Ink; Crack The Spine Magazine; The Riva Collective; Molecule; Multiplicity Magazine; Czykmate; and others. He won Honorable Mention for the Creators of Literary Justice Award, by IHRAF, the largest human rights art festival in the world; was a finalist for #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence; and won the first place Poetry Fellowship to the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing.