An Intense Application of the Principles of Grace

Lauren Leslie

Believe grass-blades shine every time you see them as when
you saw them first, before your memories began
to record. Believe in the half-tree hidden behind
the hill’s crest, slender trunk and lean branches’ spread peeling
in mothwing membrane. Believe in needles that stitched
your shoes, in page-trimmers, fork molds, the garneted
holes inside schist. Believe in the nails that hold your walls.

Pegs in logs. The linings of others’ coats. Connecting
solder-joints and polishing gem-dust. Believe sight
exists. That every word you haven’t said has changed
the speed of sound. That horizon is different from sky
only in its color. Believe when you stand your bones
will hold you. You are a dark speck in granite: still
molten, venerated, forsaking separation.

Believe a starfish, the next time you see one, will fold
to a bulb you can plunge in the earth. It will sprout
to a lily in months. The ringing pulse you hear
is a train, a coal train, a train attempting to stop

in the orange glow of the sorting yard lights, a train
running across a bridge as wind streams under along
the river and through the iron bars, transported
by train. Believe in jails made of tin. In curative
properties of tobacco. In the books you read
as a child, every one, especially in

the antagonists, especially in the speed
of the dogs, the diet of rabbits, the colors
of coats, the number of newly planted trees.

Lauren Leslie spent her adolescence on a micro-farm in the woods of Interior Alaska. Today she lives in Western Montana, where she writes, teaches, and travels the west. She earned her MFA from the University of Montana in 2009.