Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Leona Sevick
Press Fifty-Three

560 N. Trade St, Ste 103
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Winner of the 2017 Press 53 Award for Poetry
Lion Brothers by Leona Sevick

A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection

9 x 6 paperback, 78 pages
ISBN 978-1-941209-52-3
Leona Sevick’s work appears in The JournalBarrow StreetPotomac ReviewNorth American ReviewThe Florida ReviewLittle Patuxent Review, and in the anthologies All We Can Hold: Poems of Motherhood (Sage Hill Press, 2016), Circe’s Lament: Anthology of Wild Women Poetry (Accents Publishing, 2016), and The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2017). She is the 2012 first place winner of the Split This Rock poetry contest, judged by Naomi Shihab Nye, and a finalist for the 2016 John Ciardi Prize for Poetry. Her chapbook, Damaged Little Creatures, was published in 2015 by FutureCycle Press, which you can find at www.leonasevick.com. She is provost at Bridgewater College in Virginia.
Praise for Lion Brothers

Leona Sevick’s Lion Brothers is a psychologically astute, keen, and powerful sequence of poems that harness the luminous particulars of experience and race to reveal worlds within and behind the immediate, visible one. This is a marvelous debut.

– Arthur Sze, author of Compass Rose

In Lion Brothers, Leona Sevick navigates the often overlooked complexities of familiar domestic roles: wife, mother, daughter. There are striking moments of tenderness here, but they don’t go by unexamined. These poems quite gracefully praise and elegize the lessons a daughter learns while driving with her father. They attempt to prepare a son for a world marked by violence, to describe the childhood shame of a mother’s broken English that “carried whiffs of garlic and / fish sauce.” “We hoped she would be silent,” Sevick writes, never turning away from the difficult truth.

– Corey Van Landingham, author of Antidote

Leona Sevick’s debut collection, Lion Brothers, is a seductive book, one that takes the joys and terrors of dozens of “ordinary Wednesdays” and from them finds revelatory insights that answer the most fundamental questions about who we are. “Disloyal citizens are unburdened of their memories,” she writes, but these poems remember with a keen and discerning eye. They seethe and soar in equal measure, and announce themselves in a voice that manages to deftly navigate the tightrope between history and calamity. 

– Steve Kistulentz, author of Little Black Daydream


Lion Brothers

Sometimes they sent her home early,
her hand bandaged tight where a needle 
had pierced her. Home from school, 
I found her curled on the floor, watching.

She woke early to put on her face 
before we could see it for what it 
wasn’t, round and smooth and yellow. 
Her legs tucked under her, 
she held the mirror in her tiny hand
and painted on the jungle colors: 
blacks and blues. At the factory
she tied tools around her waist, 
slimmer than any boy’s though her arms 
were knotted in muscles. She climbed up 
beside the men, four feet above the ground 
on their vibrating monsters, machines 
that worked like animals. Like pieces 
of thread cut from the loom and dropped 
clean, their words gathered around her feet. 


When I Leave You

​Don’t look for obvious clues, 
like the vague scent of alien aftershave 
on the blouses I left in our closet. 
You’ll find no calls to a number you don’t 
recognize, or piles of oversized clothes 
that don’t fit me anymore. Good luck 
rifling through the trash in search of 
crumpled receipts to a restaurant
you never took me to. When I leave you, 
look for gummy, flesh-colored globs
swollen fat by water. Those remnants 
of your morning oatmeal gathered 
at the bottom of the sink 
will tell you why I’m gone.