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3: Leslie Sainz

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.


by Leslie Sainz

……………………Para Elena Milagro de Hoyos (1909 – 1931)

all any of us have.

I’m having the thought it’s too late
in my life to stop crying.

can we practice this?

I notice I’m having the thought
it’s too late in my life to stop crying.

There are things beyond
belief, like garlic, like

we have the same wrists.
did you place yours when you sang, sweetly?


yesterday I saw the reddest fire hydrant

It wasn’t beyond belief, but I was

That kind of red should only exist
inside of us, I think.

I wish neither of us could recognize that


Do you believe we want enough of ourselves?

Once a week I walk to the same construction site
a mile away from my home.

I kick one rock out of formation
from a larger pile of rocks.

No one sees me. No men have punished me.

I’m saying no men have punished me because of these walks.


Rudolph Valentino.
Did you know he was near-sighted?

your favorite actor was near-sighted.

I feel quite unreal
he said once, maybe twice
into a beautiful microphone.

You and I
the difference between us

I look severe,
I don’t like having my picture taken, I just don’t.


I had
the nightmare again

about choking on a bay leaf,
real fear like girls are real.

In real life, it happens
most when someone else has served you.

on accident and not,
when have you ignored the dangers?

they were wrong


our mothers were wrong about kindness

Copyright © 2023 by Leslie Sainz. This poem was originally published in The Common (2023).

About the Author

Leslie SainzLeslie Sainz is the author of Have You Been Long Enough at Table (Tin House, 2023), a finalist for the 2024 Audre Lorde Award. The daughter of Cuban exiles, her work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, the Yale Review, Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. A three-time National Poetry Series finalist, she’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, CantoMundo, and the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts at Bucknell University. Originally from Miami, she lives in Vermont and works as the managing editor of New England Review.

Queer Poem a Day graphic

Queer Poem a Day

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and professor Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this fourth year of our series is from the second movement of the “Geistinger Sonata,” Piano Sonata No. 2 in C Sharp Minor by Ethel Smyth, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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