Future Tense

Nostalgie II, Tom Pazderka

“Nostalgie II” by Tom Pazderka, Oil, charcoal and ashes on burned  panel

Future Tense
By Leigh Sugar

Helen will practice gestures
to quiet the futures she promised herself
as a child: I will one day be a police-
officer or a princess, she’d committed,
standing on the living-room coffee table
all tutu and headband and wand.
It is always time for dress-up
somewhere, she will reason, all chignon
and pantsuit-pretend,
and in the mirror will find shapes
where her eyes used to be.


Leigh Sugar is a writer and movement artist based in New York City. She previously edited The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing and is now curating and editing an anthology of writing by artists who have taught arts workshops in prisons. Leigh’s writing education includes learning from University of Michigan professors, workshopping with prisoners through the Prison Creative Arts Project, and studying at Seattle’s Hugo House. She is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at NYU.

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