Green Hills Literary Lantern

Last Leaves


My friend was served divorce

when the leaves started falling,

a dog and a one-year-old left in lurch.

A trucker hopped up on No-Dōz

leaned his semi into my sister’s lane

and rolled her to the emergency room.

I threw myself at a twenty-year-old.

You could say I was looking for beauty,

innocence, red skies at night.

At the restaurant, tomato Florentine

dripped from her mouth.

She was taking a class called Germs.

Found strands of hair in her sink,

sometimes felt fatigue. Don’t get attached,

she warned, and forked half

my stunned salmon onto her plate.


Burning this last bag, my mind wanders.

Morning’s news about the refugee hunter

caught trespassing in Meteor,

unloading his rifle into four men,

one woman and a boy. His sister

calling him a “reasonable person,”

“the nicest.” At work, my friend sobbing

in the men’s room. He stays up nights

teaching the dog to shake paw.

My sister discharged with a limp and a desire

to “beat the shit out of that asshole.”

The twenty-year-old leaving to study in England

with only her three-quarter camel coat

for the snow-defying rain.

She’s a vegetarian, hates fried food.

Though warned, I wonder what she’ll eat.




Jason Tandon's poems are forthcoming or have recently appeared in Poet Lore, Euphony, The Bitter Oleander, Eclipse, the strange fruit, Regarding Arts and Letters, Bayou, Cairn, Entelechy: Mind & Culture, and Vox, among others. He teaches at the University of New Hampshire, and he is an intern poetry editor at the Paris Review.