This and That

is the demonstrative but

don’t-pin-me-down response.
It is the fear of voicing the idea too soon,
or revealing the secret no one wants.
It coyly averts fireworks:
either that palm-tree spread of leaves
that twinkle themselves out with awe,
or the burst and burn inside the chest,
sparks singing ribs with a hiss.
Sweet pronouns lean specific,
glance toward our common reference point,
imply we know what we’re talking about;
they are so much better
than the shrug of shoulders.

Anna Leahy is the author of Constituents of Matter, which won the Wick Poetry Prize. She edited the book Power and Identity in the Creative Writing Classroom. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at Chapman University and directs Tabula Poetica, its annual reading series.

*Photo courtesy of Renato Ganoza.