Alone With St. Joseph

Every night the sun attends its own funeral.

Days slowly die, like the sparrow egg you found
underneath our favorite oak tree. Its pale shell—
an afterthought of heat lightning.

You buried it in the dirt and said to me;
The earth will make a perfect mother.

(Silence and a weakly nurtured glance)

Every time I think about failure,
I picture the crib in my toolshed;
the opportunities we could have given it.

Every time you think about me,
you picture sweat dripping into the ocean,
and you wonder why I still visit that tiny grave

for no apparent reason.

John Leonard is an ELA teacher and poetry editor for Twyckenham Notes. He holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University. His previous works have appeared in PoetryQuarterly, North Dakota Review, Roanoke Review, Sheila-Na-Gig online, Eclectica Magazine, Rappahannock Review, Mud Season Review, The Blue Mountain Review, Rock & Sling, Rockvale Review, Trailer Park Quarterly, Genre: Urban Arts, and Burningword Literary Journal. His work is forthcoming in Chiron Review, december, and The Oakland Review. John was the 2016 inaugural recipient of the Wolfson Poetry Award, the 2018 recipient of the Josephine K. Piercy Memorial Award, and the 2019 recipient of the David E. Albright Memorial Award and Hatfield Merit Award. He lives in Elkhart, Indiana with his wife, three cats, and two dogs. You can follow him on Twitter at @jotyleon and @TwyckenhamNotes.