s a r a h    b a r t l e t t

 

from My Only Living Relative

 

GHOST PRINTS


THE RODEO


SEPTEMBER


NIGHT TERRORS









































GHOST PRINTS

 

Our mouths resuscitate
like mended sleeves
I am laid out
a pale line on the floor
next to you
It's no use pretending
all the books on shelves
don't say something
about desire
a lifetime of content gathering
for the real history
I slide between them
feel you run your finger
down the spines
I am a savage
my body's puppet
rising up
sharp and sure as an arrow
on a windless morning

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THE RODEO

 

When I walk around
the neighborhood at night
I'm an orphan
outside every lit window
You were with me
in this arena
wildly breaking me in
families framed
in the background
eating their dinner
Your absence
a loosed animal
running from the rope
All my rings want to
fall off my fingers
I remind myself
to make a fist

next









































SEPTEMBER

 

Wind whips its tail
around the corner
while backyard bonfires
smoke Fall into the air
No one can find you
Are you sitting somewhere
with a child in your lap
The same lap
the same chair
all of which I sat inside
love loosing itself
from the bones of trees
We are looking
everywhere for you
Myself
the child
I'll send the rain next
The snow
The mice
Something to flush
you out of hiding
with the gentlest hands

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NIGHT TERRORS

 

How can a house
have so many doors
You are making more
to walk through
I sit on the couch
wait for you to finish
You walk out
You walk back in
say a different kind of exit
is called for
and begin making one
through my chest
Itís a mercy
my sternum splinters
blackbirds circling their roost
It's enough to stop you
For just a moment
you actually look at me

next

SARAH BARTLETT lives in Portland, OR. Her chapbook, Freud Blah Blah Blah, is forthcoming from Rye House Press. She is the co-author of two chapbook collaborations: Baby On The Safe Side (Publishing Genius in 2011) and A Mule-Shaped Cloud (horse less press 2008). Her recent work has appeared in: Swine, Ilk, iO, Eleven Eleven, Phantom Limb, Heavy Feather Review, Spork, Sixth Finch, NOÖ, inter|rupture, and elsewhere.


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