Fall 2011, Volume 11

Poetry by Sarah J. Sloat

 Death Roster

I’ve always preferred ribbons and torn strips
of paper to the body. They all get dirty
but only one from the inside out.
Soaked in snow, the ground gives up
the sun like a blister that has no business
in this picture until finally the list is posted.
The deaths come chronologically, the alphabet
being too difficult to organize on short notice.
My head’s shadow crosses the lawn, stopping
at the roster to read. After me on page three
is the neighbor girl with poor posture.
Her mother always dressed her neatly.
Her name leans half out
into the street.

Good Wife of Hunan

You knew I’d been up all night startling the wok
and I’d been up for ages grooming the dog star
of ticks, throwing a tarp over all that barking
for the sake of the neighbors and cosmic harmony.
Clearly I’d been up with my measuring stick
by the river, which chilled my toe bones and triggered
that crying-jag phone call to my mother two monasteries
west of here, my mother who was glad to have girls.
Spring petals fell like snow into the year of the monkey.
Snow fell like snow into the year of the cat.
And it seemed I’d be up startling the wok
for generations and it seemed I was going to live
to see 10,000 or at least the day you dropped dead
drunk from the jug of plum wine and I’d shown
the barking star who’s master.




BIO: Sarah J. Sloat lives in Germany, where she works for a news agency. She is a big fan of Vasko Popa, Elaine Equi and the French surrealists. Sarah’s poems have appeared in RHINO, Court Green, Bateau and Opium, among other publications. Her chapbook, In the Voice of a Minor Saint, was published in 2009 by Tilt Press, and another chapbook, Excuse me while I wring this long swim out of my hair, will be published in 2011 by Dancing Girl Press.