Sarah McCann was a Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and has published her poetry in such journals as The Bennington Review, Margie, The Broken Bridge Review, Midway Journal, The South Dakota Review and Hanging Loose. Her translations from the Modern Greek into English have been recognized by the Fulbright Foundation with a grant and published in such anthologies and journals as Austerity Measures, Words Without Borders, Poetry International and World Literature Today. She has also had the pleasure to edit a collection of poetry from the late American poet Robert Lax, Tertium Quid, and a book of her translations of the Greek poet Maria Laina is available from World Poetry Books through the University of Connecticut.
The days we knit preparing for this
day the days passed also sleeping
on it the days presidents past kept
kicking the door down the days in
scurvy with our telephone smiles
the days fingers stretching the fibers
of the bones and so on
And here we are, the whole nation
awhisper and here we are, uptown
and downhome and here we are, with
our pets and bicycles and nothings and here
we are, in glasses and free-eyes and
it’s a wash and all a front and we
are here, in unnamable pain, afraid even
to touch each other
But our eyes are up and about and larger than anything
allowing everything, and everyone, in
There are red cities
hiding in the shadows
of our marriage.
You are my shutting
lids. And a slow mirror:
you close your eyes
when we are kissing only
after you see
my eyes close.
Even still. Some things
you can never anticipate
and you could never guess.
The lurking private
underneath the gross bark
is also the sap, sugary and wild.
They chose the equinox on purpose –
one foot in the slipping mirror-pools
of spring, one ear to the trust-thud of summer.
Syllables of orange pulp smooth over their tongues
as they wait, separate, at breakfast. Outside, the storm propels
eels of light and water to and from the thunderhead.
Reeds by the rising river shelter earthworms only so long.
They wonder about Wuthering Heights and –
isn’t the weather its own prediction? They don’t think long.
They do something different. They sip at juice
and sunbathe there. They, the simple service, the words
repeated – every word that has ever been said – they, on tiptoes
at the causeway, waiting for the world
to say: It is okay. Weigh anchor.
You and I climb something so small
it is visible only after vodka.
Threadbare trees double over in shadow.
Onions kicked up in the air by the first mow.
Floods, glaciers come, gone,
and only the weight remembered remains.
A balding head with its last hairs
cemented, sadly. Rivulets
drooping down the waves of an ancient,
Our thoughts inflate the scene.
You and I have talked about
in its nature not in its god or origin
is in abuse and gossip.
Check for yourself. We’re trouble.
And we think. Ah,
that can be our charity.
What better than our senses?
Let’s leave our words like peeping mice
at the threshold – content with the trapped
scraps of grass, hay, and summoned
by the sound, but weary with the words.
We have readied some point,
but everyone not you and not me
knows it doesn’t matter.
The trees recede on their tide of light.
The onions settle and quiet their cries.
The grass extends its many ears to evening.