Leila Ortiz

This is a Comb

This is the president tweeting. This is my fake, white tree. This is my name spelled correctly. Someone complemented me. Then I got dissed. There are ghosts slipping between my fingers. They are wringing their hands. I want to hole up in my place and never come out. I want to call my ex. Here are some bitches who think they’re punk rock. When I say bitch it isn’t gendered. This time. Here’s a sock without a match. Here’s a person who really doesn’t care. Here’s a person who wishes desperately to care, but most of all, to understand. This is someone showing me a poem. This is me feeling shame. When the poets talk I want to participate. Here I am trying to participate and exaggerating myself as a protective measure. It is still me, but performed. The realer me sneaks in: I’m getting pissed and trying to stay cordial. The ghosts are drying their hair. I am under water. I want to come up for air.


Leila Ortiz is a poet and social worker in NYC public schools. Born and raised in New York City, Leila currently resides in Park Slope. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Tinderbox and Apogee. Leila is the author of two chapbooks, Girl Life (Recreation League, 2016) and A Mouth is Not a Place (dancing girl press, 2017). She is a Journal Editor at No, Dear Magazine.