In the Chair Museum / Leah Browning
dancing girl press, 2013
Leah Browning has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 1995. She is the
author of three nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens: Babysitting Basics, Babysitting
Rules, and Sleepovers, all published by Capstone Press. Browning's first two
chapbooks, Making Love to the Same Man for Fifteen Years and Picking Cherries in the
Española Valley, were published by Big Table Publishing in 2009 and Dancing Girl
Press in 2010, respectively.
Browning's fiction, poetry, essays, and articles have previously appeared in a variety of
publications including Queen's Quarterly, 42opus, The Saint Ann's Review, Blood
Orange Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Brink Magazine, Halfway Down the Stairs, The
Literary Bohemian, 971 MENU, and Autumn Sky Poetry, as well as on a broadside from
Broadsided Press, on postcards from the program Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, and in
several anthologies. Her poetry is forthcoming in Eunoia Review.
In addition to writing, Browning serves as editor of the Apple Valley Review, an online
literary journal. Each issue features a collection of poetry, short fiction, and essays.
HALFWAY THROUGH THE BIOGRAPHY OF ANNE SEXTON
Things begin to fall apart. The kids are sick,
the car’s engine won’t turn over, all the light bulbs are breaking.
My fingers swell in the night. It’s the salt, the sugar, the heat—
but it seems symptomatic of some larger failing.
Autumn. It’s been raining for days and days, and she’s back
in the hospital again—is it the third time, the fourth?
I can’t help thinking of the skirts she used to wear, the position
of her hand on the banister, all the secret codes and signs.
The old life—the two of them holding hands on the porch,
children running on the summer grass—
did it all melt like ice under the smoldering weight
of the words in her head? Or did it ever exist at all?
Outside, the rain falls heavily, like sparrows
striking the roof. Her body is so slight, so fragile—
and yet we are all silent, standing here in the dark, waiting
once more for even a hint of breath, or a soft rush of wings.