It’s Taxing, isn’t it?

Leah Umansky
Golden Days

It’s taxing isn’t it, not being in a real room anymore.

It’s like being in a virtual belly of a newly discovered underwater beast, water-handled, and mucked.

It is taxing, feeling so beneath the surface, so damp under the waterline. What is the measure of success now? 

There’s the bravado on the one side, and the blood-soaked climax on the other.

What tries, what edges forward, what renders lyrical, that is the threat of not-being in this Time of __________. 

It is taxing, but it is also overtaxing to feel what shouldn’t be felt: the empty, the quiet, the lag. The lag is always there, crude in what is fresh. What plagues this through, what parallels its cost, is all about our own narrative. 

Always behind us are those who risk and heal and fight and make and set and push and pull and dissect. It is their rendering that is taxing.

But we, too, are equally viced. Our fight or flight is nothing new. It’s the minutes between that sustain: the reactioning.

The instinct should happen in seconds.

Now, it’s just out there - a prolonged tragedy.


Leah Umansky

Leah Umansky is the author of two full length collections, The Barbarous Century, and Domestic Uncertainties. She earned her MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and has been the host and curator of The COUPLET Reading Series in NYC since 2011. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as Thrush Poetry Journal, Glass Poetry Journal, The New York Times, POETRY, Guernica, Ecotheo, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Bennington Review, The Academy of American Poets' Poem-A-Day, and others. She can be found at or @leah.umansky on IG.