Leo Yankevich


You fly back home, sit at the kitchen table
with the wake cake.  The crumbs inside the foil.
Thirty years have passed and you are able
only to stare outside. You watch him toil
in the garden, turn the frozen soil.
You open up his lager, pick the label,
look at the food that in three days will spoil,
wonder if there is meaning to the fable.
He rests the rusty shovel by the window.
His heavy breath is warm and live and rising.
He smiles to you. You feel the winter wind blow
through the panes. You look down at the icing.
He's speaking now beyond the stars. You listen.
You are ten years old and forever his son.


When Mary washed his feet he didn't stare
down like an ordinary man. No lust
blazed in his eyes, although her milky bust,
thighs and neck were there for him. Her hair
brushed his calves, her hands reached past his knees.
She was just doing what she'd always done.
It was still early. Her lips had just begun.
Her earthly thoughts commingled with the breeze.
He focused on what was to come: his trial,
his torture and his death. He didn't want it,
rebuking Mary with a gentle smile.
She covered up with sorrow and a veil.
And I sign my name beneath this sonnet,
a man who lusted and who knew her well.

Leo Yankevich's poetry has appeared in scores of magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, among humbler titles in American Jones, ArtWord Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Cedar Hill Review, Chronicles, Envoi, The MacGuffin, Poetry Notingham, Staple, Sulphur River Literary Review, The Tennessee Review, Visions International, and The Windsor Review.   He lives with his wife and three sons in Gliwice, Poland, where he works as a translator and serves as the poetry editor for The New Formalist (



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