Two Poems

By Leah Umansky


The Year of the Tyrant
Follows on the heels
Of a half-dozen passes.
It could easily stun
Any one.
It could easily scare
Away the would-be years 

Whatever fresh claim,
Whatever new interpretation,
Is an amazing grace.
That titanic figure,
Invents interpretation,
But remember, we are articulate. 

Am I making my point?

Let’s assess his intrusion.
Every aspect of what comes close,
Is just his chosen narrative.
All of our cranked tendencies,
Are a cradle to the grave.
There is no closer deity
Then the devil before us.
This is not hyperbole. 

We are standing up to the grand,
With shoehorns of hope,
And a future,
Created by claim. 

We, the damned,
Are more concerned about the people
Selfless, unnerving,
We are not flawless,
And we are not
Always good-hearted,
But we are smart enough
To not dismiss the lies. 

It is a true act of sorcery.
Or secrecy.
Only a tyrant insists he is right.
Only a tyrant reaches the wide
Without running,
And without speed,
Only to say his fall was measured
And planned, but don’t believe your eyes.
We are seeing this.
This glimpse into a reality unknown.
Praise what comes
Because the impossible is possible.
For only a tyrant feels they are praiseworthy
This is nothing new,
The year of the tyrant.


Of Tyrant 2

I heard the church choir
on West 71st street.
I felt: angels
& then,


Put on a happy face, Darlin,
says a man
while I walk
with groceries in hand.
I glare
& I flare
then I sooth
my pocks &
my strays.
What do I have
to hold on to,
but hardness?
The constraints,
are open-mouthed
with squawk.
He is everywhere.
thumbing hate into Sunday.

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.