Three Poems by Leah Mueller

Early Signs

 

I bought him

a silkscreened

tee-shirt

 

that read,

“It’s not apathy,

it’s zen.”

 

Two weeks later,

he lost the shirt,

said he didn’t care.

 

I rummaged

under the bed,

 

sifted through

wadded-up parcels

of dirty underwear,

 

dumped the laundry

hamper on the floor,

but my search

came up empty.

 

“I never liked

that shirt anyway,”

he told me.

 

His sallow face

looked smug

and unconcerned.

 

I pretended

not to care either.

 

It was only

the beginning

of trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO Vacancy

 

So much quieter in my head

since you checked out

at 4 PM. I let you stay

a couple extra hours

and didn’t charge you for it.

 

You left behind

a sock and a notepad,

a parking pass for

your rental vehicle,

 

and some change

near the headboard,

but that might

have been a tip.

 

I pulled the blinds,

extinguished the lights,

dropped off your set

of keys at the desk.

 

You were last seen

heading east on I-90

towards a home

you couldn’t leave.

 

I cleaned the room,

prepared for new guests:

straightened the pillowcases,

vacuumed the carpet.

 

Better illuminate the neon,

announce a new vacancy, or

shut the damn place down

once and for all.

 

No point in staying open

when all I ever get

are the low rent customers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s Your Daddy America

 

You must need one

or you wouldn’t

keep voting.

 

Your boss is a despot

with a lariat and

a concealed firearm,

ready to take deadly aim

against assailants.

 

Finger flick, an

issued command,

then time for a little golf.

 

All death is collateral,

unless it’s you.

 

Choose the one

who kills the best

and hide behind

his cardboard face.

 

Dart from side to side

to dodge the bullets,

prop the face

in front of yours.

Pray that nothing hits you.

 

Just go along.

Keep your goddamned

mouth shut.

And be sure to vote.

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She has published books with numerous small presses. Her most recent volumes, “Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices” (Czykmate Press) and “Death and Heartbreak” (Weasel Press) were released in October, 2019. Leah’s work also appears in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She won honorable mention in the 2012 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest. Her new chapbook, “Cocktails at Denny’s” is looking for a home.

Leah Mueller