The Starry Night

Leela Chantrelle

How little it takes to blend in.
Become a cloudy night.
Watch nipples turn into vague stars
And toes curl into imitations of light,

Become a disappointment.
We so rarely wonder about the moon’s neighbor. But, how does
The moon
Take up everything?

I turn how are you
Into a million different questions
Into a conversation
Into a cloudy night.
What was needy became a shooting star
What was stumbling out of pain became the sunrise,
Became orange glimmers peeking out of something waiting for an answer.
Why are so many people being killed
Why am I not
What is in this countryside night that allows me to survive?

I would like no permission,
I would like to be given nothing.
This body doesn’t work,
There’s nothing in the sky tonight.
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A Villanelle

There are no questions in this poem.
Un-colored tears being the only acceptable part of our bodies,
What skin is worthy of martyrdom?

Thankful to any distance a bullet can’t hit them,
A million mixed children are on another continent thankful and angry and reaching.
But, there are no questions in this poem.

Pretty soon, survival’s going to seem pretty lonesome,
We all need someone else’s melatonin.
What skin is worthy of martyrdom?

Do I want a price? Do I need another’s protection?
Who the fuck isn’t hungry for blood?
There are no questions in this poem.

We have no more fathers because you killed them.
I breathe America in a backseat, scared of all kinds of lights.
There are no questions in this poem.
No kin is worthy of martyrdom.

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You Robbing My Children

Take a look at how this year ends.
A hospitable bed, a horoscope,
The dignity of holding a gown across the back to hide darkness.

What an ugly view of the future.
Chipotle or Panera, whatever chain it is,
The hospital window holds the same dark damnation.

How is this prophecy?
Water is not always a blessing.
I get distracted by the lightness of my skin next to yours,
The lightness of my body next to yours,

The anger of the scale.
Where’s the DNA in that
Alcohol? Seems we’ve been passing

A lot between ourselves,
No one even notices the way we die,
The dog keeps on barking whenever the vacuum is turned on.

You, a father to addiction, defied the odds our skin colors dictated.
Instead, I left, the state flooded.
Your medicine worked.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Leela Chantrelle first discovered poetry as most people do, with a math teacher who was willing to listen to her angst filled rants. These rants are the foundation for what later became a passion for poetry. Though she took a slight detour through pre-vet studies, while at Cornell University she rediscovered her love of words through amazing professors and the contemporary writing she studied. She’s been living in Paris, France, for the past three years and working as a teacher of English Literature. In her spare time she watches copious amounts of TV and pretends to know how to cook.