Leonard Kress

By one a.m. they hoard the crossroad stoops,
spotlit by squealing cars and vans, each beam
gilding an icon nimbus in mounting loops
of hair. They gaze impassive at the stream
of boyfriend-fathers whose beery grind, embodied,
now wails—ham hock babies hammocked in strollers
collapsible as ancient empires. Each deed
of love begets its own insatiable railers
against: to pass around, coo at, and compare.
Initiates, impenetrable now, these girls who chat
like their own mothers, children who could not care
less we stalk through corner-hanging danger for that
transfiguring kiss all of them distractedly plant
on the velveteen globe of each infant.

Leonard Kress has published poetry, translations, non-fiction, and fiction in the Missouri Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and others. Among his collections are The Orpheus Complex, Walk Like Bo Diddley, Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems, and his new verse translation of the Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz. Craniotomy Sestinas appeared in 2021. He has received multiple grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. Kress currently lives in Blackwood, NJ, and teaches at Temple University.

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