Leah Mueller

Oz Moment

Pay no attention
to the man behind the curtain
frantically maneuvering levers
to avoid detection. The man
only does what is natural
for someone who hides.

He covers himself with
cloth and branches.
He waves his hands in the air,
talking loudly to confuse
listeners. You are the girl who
believed a boy could fly
across the street. You want
to believe the man. His
huge head looms above.
His lips continue moving.

Something always arrives
at the last minute, to pull
open the curtain. The head
grows louder, halts when
it sees nobody’s listening.
You demand an explanation.
You will stand guard in front
of the doorway, until your armor
finally disappears. The man
will vanish with the head.

Pay more attention
to the man behind the curtain
next time you’re stupid
enough to leave home. If you
wander too far, you
won’t remember the route.
The man will take his wagon
somewhere else. You’ll
need to retrace your steps
until you find the place
where you fell asleep.

Leah Mueller is an indie writer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of two chapbooks, Queen of Dorksville (Crisis Chronicles Press) and Political Apnea (Locofo Chaps) and three books, Allergic to Everything, (Writing Knights Press) Beach Dweller Manifesto (Writing Knights) and The Underside of the Snake (Red Ferret Press). Her work appears in Blunderbuss, Summerset Review, Outlook Springs, Crack the Spine, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival, and a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest.