Echoing Damocles

I am no monarch. 

There is no sword 

dangling over

my head, but many

worries of the world, 

of undone tasks,

roost and flap 

and squeak inside my brain—

wherever my mind lodges—

joined by the gibbering 

ghosts of remembered wrongs:

mine to others, theirs to me,

no difference.

Oh, how I would love

to sweep them clean

out of me, to fill

the empty spaces with roses

of love, and fountains of compassion, 


great lotus-lined lakes 

of tranquility so that,

at sunset, 

when the dark-webbed feet 


these creatures 

of my own creation 

can at least

be fed by beauty, 

be dazzled 

and momentarily 


when rays of fading sun 

ignite their reflections.

Maybe then 

they will fold

their sword-

sharp wings in sleep.

Leslie Schultz

Leslie Schultz (Northfield, Minnesota) has five collections of poetry. Her poetry has appeared in Able Muse, Blue Unicorn, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Little Patuxent Review, Light, Mezzo Cammin, MockingHeart Review, Naugatuck River Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Pensive, Poet Lore, Poetic Strokes Anthology, Third Wednesday, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Madison Review, The Midwest Quarterly, The Orchards, The Wayfarer, and Tipton Poetry Review. She serves as a judge for the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest.

Secondhand Jesus
The Words We Use