Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat


I misplace my passport
and almost to the Danish border

I rush to turn my vitals into a story
relevant for crossings.

I come from a state of astonishment.
My blood has always been a foreign city on the ocean.
The bays were broken long before

I laid eyes on them – none of that my doing.

I was a child of pleasure not my own,
born on Saturday, spelling work,
as learning is a kind of work,
switching tacks is an employment,
and love the hardest labor.

My limp is the result of a childhood crush
and the crick in my neck comes from caring
too much

for stars and airplanes, for looking up
to find my ancestors all north,
elongated shadows thrown astern.

On my mother’s side their chins sat stiff;
on my father’s side, they trembled.
I travel light into experience, a few seeds
and country dust I can’t pass off
on anyone

I hope will earn me entry.

Occasionally I have followed the errant
lines on my hand, dragging my freight
at this height, this weight,

leaving me with an unfinished feeling
because every place I ever loved,

I still love,
tucked away as cloth is tucked, a parachute
strapped to my back when all the doors
I’ve slammed blow open.

Among the Watermelons

Here you are in Marseilles among the watermelons
to enter the dark
the confusion of bodies the lassitudes the ardours

I lift up your beautiful dress
the Don Juan of a thousand and three comets
that emerge I don’t know how

Cento attributions: Zone, Guillaume Apollinaire / Winter Moon, Philippe Jaccottet / Out of Sight in the Direction of My Body, Paul Eluard / White Haunches, Pierre Jean Jouve / Always, Guillaume Apollinaire / For the Moment, Pierre Reverdy

About the author

Sarah J. Sloat splits her time between Frankfurt and Barcelona, where she works as a news editor. Her book of visual poetry, Hotel Almighty,…

Read the full bio

Issue 12 · June 2011

Table of contents