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Cocktail Sunsets 

by Leah Mueller 

Weekends on the Long Beach peninsula,

drinking cocktails at the Pickled Fish

against the backdrop of a postcard sunset.


Riding three-speed bicycles along the coast

to Marsh’s Free Museum and back.


Bands every night, in a room overlooking

the waves. Nothing bad ever happened to us

at the ocean. The rain always stopped


before we arrived. The beer was cold,

the music perfect. We ignored your pain,

your exhaustion, the blood in your stool,


the sudden reek of oncoming death

every time you opened your mouth.


Your Monday reentry always a reminder.

That arduous bus ride to your office gig

and its medieval humiliations. The ocean


tried to cure you, but it wasn’t enough.

You only cared for the sunsets.

Leah Mueller is the author of ten prose and poetry books. Her work appears in Rattle, Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. It has also been featured in trees, shop windows in Scotland, poetry subscription boxes, and literary dispensers throughout the world. Her flash piece, "Land of Eternal Thirst" will appear in the 2022 edition of Sonder Press' "Best Small Fictions" anthology. Visit her website at

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