SARAH J. SLOAT
Sarah J. Sloat grew up in New Jersey and now lives in Germany,
where she works for a news agency. Her poems have appeared in
Court Green, Barn Owl Review, The Literary Bohemian and Juked,
among other publications.
The effervescent zip of velcro
opens a tote bag. Frump
in a sweatshirt reading "Die Zeit."
Twice a day like toothbrushing:
aubade and evensong
in the cavernous arcade.
In this corner, kohl-smoulder eyelids.
In this corner, solemnity,
rip cord and smorgasbord.
It tires me out when I think
how all day my arm comes
plunging down my sleeve.
Note to self: embrace your foreignness,
string looped through and tied to
a gingerbread heart.
Achtung, dear old people!
Please be seated before
the train starts.
It was raining,
the cows and sheep all bored as ever.
Mud brewed like whore's porridge
on the hillside, less brown
We favored warm wine
not for the flavor
but because the water left us retching.
Whatever the weather, smoke seeped
from chimneys and came to nothing,
a pang without a birth.
Meanwhile, back at the abbey graveyard,
the dead were good at death,
Roaming the headstones, Sister Agnes
pressed two fingers to her lips
to encourage quiet,
and to keep the bottom lip
With All Due Respect
Someone felt sorry for a half-eaten apple.
Someone cried for the brook that dried up
and pitied three chairs left as scrap,
Someone's a saint, a champion,
clamoring to the defence of a nomadic stack
of papers one shove from the trash.
With all due respect, I'm ripe as an ice cube.
My fissures snap the second I drop in the vodka.
Don't wait until I'm face down in the water,
a cabbage rose beginning to bloat.
Don't trim the stems.
Don't splash me with aspirin.
Someone assures you a cracked vase
can be sutured and fused. But the vase
makes its own ample morass.
The best thing to do if the glass bursts is crush it.
The best thing is to tend a virtuous hand
whose root won't endure the city forever,
to drink the cork bits afloat in the wine.
When the brow flakes and unpeels
from sunburn, pinch the upper flaps
and tug free the face.
The storm has been irresponsible
and the snow, now in thaw,
orbitted the lawn too long,
birthing that graphic land
whose name is mud.
From the third-story window, all
there is to see is muck, smashed
grass and patches of snow.
Stare long enough and the earth
is more like a photograph of earth
from outer space: the uncanny
distant waters, wisps and continents
we know so intimately from tv.
Back to Front.