Anna Leahy

Before the Air


The air
is pregnant

with possibility of motion.

The sky



The air
has exhausted
its exacting form.

The sky
can’t think.

What came before the air?

What’s left for the sky?

Not for Magic

The desert sprites are dying all
at once. They had a chance

in hell. The elves
get tossed head over heels

like coins turning fiery
on the dime that fell

out of the sky’s flammable pocket.
The air’s too hot

to dance, but the flames do
what they do. What they do

compares to lightning if the whole
expanse were struck

bright and dumb all
over, all at once. But once

isn’t enough.
Not for the singe in the air.

Not for the metallic taste,
the spark of brazen imagination.

Anna Leahy’s book Constituents of Matter won the Wick Poetry Prize and also deals with intersections of history, science, and autobiography. Her poems and essays appear in The Southern Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Pinch, Gravel, and more. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at Chapman University, where she edits the journal TAB and curates the Tabula Poetica reading series. She also co-writes Lofty Ambitions blog at
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.