Riley Leight

summer body
After Kimberly Alidio’s “Lungless and the Petiole at the Barton Springs run-off”

six days and dogs find carcass
glass jar open / teeth, inviting
beehive white noise like flies
on deer rot / those dogs find flesh
they weren’t looking for / say flesh / and mean
nothing left / mean body must
be noise now / too late to be
listening / too late for retribution
dogs find manzanita tripwires
in the canyon / snakehole tongues
by the creekbed / acid washing
his denim on stone / washing, mean
hiding the scent / hiding the body
mean silence / from the feeding
mean too late to say most dead things
go unburied / go bone claw aiming
toward vultures, always / to his
listening mouth / open glass brim, inviting
that life to be swallowed / life,
meaning flesh now / becomes silent

i don’t blink
After Minnie Bruce Pratt

before i come out, i dream too often that i am+++++a body in the black lake
on my back watching the sky++++++++++++++++as if my chest is a pupil
dilating; the dream itself++++++++++++a kind of looking / as if the body were an eye
surrounded by+++++++++++++++no light. this is my garden;
a place beyond the self+++++++++++beyond the bright heat of day
and the way it seeks to swallow+++++my skin in sight.

Riley R. Leight is a writer, editor, and artist whose work centers on identity, religion, and LGBT history. They are the recipient of an Abraham L. Polonsky award for fiction and a Maurya Simon scholarship for poetry. Their writing has appeared in Occulum, Mosaic, and COAL Magazine. Now a founding co-editor of Name and None, a journal for trans/nonbinary creators, they were formerly the Editor-in-Chief of the multidisciplinary journal Audeamus. You can find them @rileyrleight on Twitter or  


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