Poetry by Sarah J. Sloat


Emmanuel Polanco via My Love For You

In the Voice of a Minor Saint

I came at a wee hour
into my miniature existence.

I keep my hair close cropped
that my face might fit in lockets.

My heart is small, like a love
of buttons or black pepper.

On approach, I notice how
objects grow and contours blear.

That’s what comes of nearness.
I have an ear for the specific,

as St. Apollonia minds the teeth,
and Magnus of Fussen, hailstones.

I dwarf gloom with my cachet sign:
one good hand conceals

my one good eye,
halving all disaster.

Originally published in Kaleidowhirl

Summer’s End

Noon wounds me with its bees, its burning.
I weary of the season, whitewash
and blind arrows.

The sun has come to steal my outline,
come to sort me,
stretch me along its javelin.

Succumb, it says, when
already the heat is lurching south
in one long exhalation.

Every night I’m more in love
with sleep. Closing my eyes

I let each blue dram
trickle back into my iris.

Originally published in Yemassee

Vestment

On the morning of my ruin
I will dress in a vest of bees
as the sun crimps the sky
and light spreads, tight,
intricate as a honeycomb
over the home I’ve chosen.
The bees will cloak me; goldenly
close they’ll wander me,
those I once feared,
those who seal the suit of mail
no other ruin can sting.

Originally published in Blood Orange Review

Pococurante

No rain came and only the hardiest would live.
I played nature’s yes man; it said starve
and by god I nearly did,

my kerchief flapping half-heartedly
in the weak-tea wind, letting the sun
settle everything.

Even the light grew eucalyptal,
a radiant weight, a soother. Days
turned to dust that couldn’t fly;

they phantomed, bogging down
the awnings, like the bygones
I’d sworn went by.

As I grew tired, I forgot how silt
gets thick around the doilies.

As I grew tired, it slipped my mind
that the fan, in sweeping air aside,
must also partake of air.

I grew tired and didn’t see the sun bulge
and land like a flimsy insect on my arm,
where it deposited its pouch of itch.

Idling on the balcony, all I could do
was note the ocean, its one wave
rising, languid as a wrist.

Dollhouse

There is a sink that won’t be filled
that won’t offer water

Rooms without doors
Children on their backs in bed

There are chairs tucked up to the table
docile where sedation reigns

Little house, in death the snow
will cover you like a doily

Wolves will circle your horses
frozen beside the sleigh

 

Sarah J. Sloat is the author of In the Voice of a Minor Saint (Tilt Press, 2009), a poetry chapbook. Her work is widely published online and in print, and can be found in Apparatus, Blood Orange Review, Leveler, Opium, Prick of the Spindle, RHINO, and elsewhere. She grew up in New Jersey and now works for a news agency in Frankfurt, Germany. “Dollhouse” and “Pococurante” are new poems, and the other three appear in her book. You may visit her blog, The Rain in My Purse, here.
Special Thanks to Kathleen Kirk, official poetry editor for Escape into Life, whose poems may be found here, and her blog here.




  • I grew tired and didn’t see the sun bulge
    and land like a flimsy insect on my arm,
    where it deposited its pouch of itch.

    I love that! Always great to read new work by Sarah J. Sloat, and it's especially delightful to encounter it in such a graceful, new-to-me venue.

  • Sherry O'Keefe

    My heart is small, like a love
    of buttons or black pepper.

    i know before i read one of sarah's poems i will step into yet another new realm. “small, like a love of buttons”. see? i'm there, somewhere i'd not been before.

    really nice venue.

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