Three Poems

A STUDY IN PLANTS

After Leeanne Maxey

 

What is it about greenery

that makes it yours?

 

A looking, a portal,

a universe of green

 

inlaid over a tapestry

of grass. How can

 

you tell a lesbian

from everyone else?

THE IMAGE SURPRISES
 
Great-grandmother with nightwater black hair
braided down her back
 
Aunt who learned at her mother’s funeral
the Native tribes we descended from           now losing
photons of her brain to dementia
 
Blood isn’t culture—
 
If it were, I’d know how to prepare
a Polish New Year’s feast:
a lucky silver fish
 
My other great-grandmother donated her body
to science in Detroit           Returned in 1987
an urn we kept in the closet
beside the board games
 
Whenever I stole inside for hide-and-seek,
or a blanket, I whispered hello
 
Lots of people think I only have
two sisters. But there’s a third—
 
I used to joke I’m not gay my girlfriend is
Until my sister boycotted my wedding
 
Now I carry a picture of her
like a missing persons report
I could file at any moment
 
I try to tell you a story.
It’s easier to say a man
loved blue so much
 
he married a blueberry
and rolled her all the way
to France
 
Than it is to say sequence
is a binding thread. And we’re
all just trying not to spin off
into the moon.
WHEN I WAS A BOY
 
It was always summer// we brandished unripe chests
to launch stunt bikes over gaping foundations.
 
Our dirty fingers tendered past thorns to wolf
blackberries from the shade of weeping willows.
 
Sequined snakes curled toward us in the lake—
slick deaths we procrastinated with rocks.
 
A recess monitor called: keep your coats on unless
you’re wearing an undershirt. Suddenly, it was spring.
 
A boy presumed sameness to peer down my sweater.
At first, I was a boy // then I became a rosebud.
 
 

AUTHOR

Sarah Sala is a queer poet of Polish-Lebanese descent. Her debut collection, Devil’s Lake is forthcoming from Tolsun Books August 2020. She is the founding director of the free poetry workshop, Office Hours, and Assistant Poetry Editor at the Bellevue Literary Review. Her work appears in BOMB, the Southampton Review, and the Los Angeles Review.

Find her at sarahsala.com and @sarahmsala.

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