Poetry: Sarah J. Sloat


Aunt Bobbie’s Almanac

If your palm itches, choose sixes.
If your wrist itches, it’s not because
you’re missed.

Empty your head for clarity,
then abandon all desire for clarity.

To ward off fever, twist your mustache.
A mustache is bad luck enough.

Whistle in the kitchen
and marry a man who beats you.

Don’t whistle
and you won’t know love at all.

To achieve your dearest wish
cross your fingers,
all your fingers;

keep them crossed
until they fall off.

There’s So Much Sunday

There’s so much Sunday
in Saturday, so much cud and pulver,
so much stooping over to offer alms

to the asthma haunting
the apartment, unknowing
what motors the tick

in sitting with mother
letting her love her beloved
Renoir, sitting in side-buttoned
boots and half-excuses

when nothing is running
nothing is plugged in
nothing up nothing doing

so much Sunday boring the cornea
with the gist of lemon oregano

day fraught with doilies and porcelain
coffee cup rings crippling
the linoleum

Sunday the unending understudy
Sunday too much in itself

On Waking I Think of Winter

mostly because my legs jut like a long
pier out over waves
in the dark’s oceanic pitch

I think of winter when my husband snores across
                    the expanse of bed, tundra-vast
because children insist on visiting

papoose, bear cub, eskimo: wool
blanket curled below their throats

and I wake like Jack London, only less
bearded, less brave, though the brown kiss of a dog
assists me

where just moments ago I was steeped in
                    sleep, hallucinating a daisy-faced spring
landscape, now

I think of winter because of dreams redressed by cold
                    and startling alarms, because I have no idea
how to go on

and I think of winter as I always do at dawn
and always did, before I guessed
what winter was

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