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Eating Alone

by John Leonard

Eating Alone

The evening news arrives and I mute it.

An anchor watches me stoically through

the screen before her facade is replaced by

a body bag being bowled into an ambulance.

Red and black under the white plastic.


The emotionless font of the bottom caption

reads— Drug dealer shot in Englewood.

Then, effortlessly, the image changes to

a fabric softener commercial and I’m left alone

to take another bite of my dry turkey sandwich.


The next day I read in the paper that he was

a fifteen year old high school sophomore. That

he was someone’s son and someone’s brother.

That the officer didn’t even chase him.  Meanwhile,

screens hum the same silent tune in every room of

the White House.


John Leonard

John Leonard is a professor of composition and assistant editor of Twyckenham Notes, a poetry journal based out of South Bend, Indiana. He holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University. His previous works have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly, The Jawline Review, Fearsome Critters: A Millennial Arts Journal, Up the Staircase Quarterly and Burningword Literary Journal.  He was the 2016 inaugural recipient of the Wolfson Poetry Award and 2018 recipient of the Josephine K. Piercy Memorial Award.  He lives in Elkhart, Indiana with his wife, three cats, and two dogs.

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