"Playing Sorry" by Leah Mueller

My parents played

a ruthless game of “Sorry.”

They made me use

yellow or green game pieces

instead of red or blue,

and refused to allow 

me any handicap, though


I was only seven. Of course,

they always kicked my ass.

If it was my turn 

to have my piece

knocked off the board,

they simply did so 

without a second thought,

then shook their heads

in disgust when I cried.


“You have to play mean,” 

my stepfather explained.

He seemed to relish

that aspect of the challenge.


My mother said

it was unfair for me to expect

any sort of advantage,

because then I would never learn

how to compete. I thought

her message was full of shit,

but allowed the sacrifice

since I didn’t make the rules.


I don’t think this experience

did me any good

whatsoever. Eventually I learned

not to collapse sobbing

on the board if I lost. That’s

about it. They should have

let me win occasionally. I 

never learned how to play mean,

and now I think it’s

too late to take lessons.

"Instant Message to an Ex's Ex" by Leah Mueller



don’t give a shit.

you’re just 

a warm jacket 

or their favorite 

sex toy.

when the toy

and the jacket

outlive their use

narcissists employ

their devious magic

to find more.

your sleeves are 

fraying and your

batteries wore down.

too bad for you.

better look 

for a different


"Short List of Egregious Errors" by Leah Mueller


It was a mistake to order that sandwich.

It was a mistake to ignore that travel ban.

It was a mistake to think that flying between buildings was a good idea.

It was a mistake to marry for love, money, happiness, or security.

It was a mistake to bring only wool suits to my Costa Rica vacation.

It was a mistake to start a restaurant based on pickled pig’s feet recipes.

It was a mistake to eat at a place called “Botulism Buffet.”

It was a mistake to bring my MacBook to a rodeo.

It was a mistake to try to run on the ice while wearing my banana peel shoes.

It was a mistake to fall in love with a man who kept a flock of vultures as pets.

It was a mistake to wear a jester suit to my great-uncle’s funeral.

It was a mistake to start something that I don’t know how to finish.