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Sara Renee Marshall :: from The Landscapes Were in My Arms


I began with no sense 
and began
looking. Outward because
the scene behind 
my eyes repeated, and in each
incarnation, you—
touching something unseen
out in the yard—
you couldn’t hear me 
inside. In fact, I wasn’t emitting
sound. Just mouthing something
Something
I could neither hear nor 
know but still wobble from


Peonies rain, hung
up in mustard sky. Yellow
jackets spear a cloud cluster
Oblong tumbleweeds lope
headlong, bleeding
I wonder: could air swallow 
glass shards, whether little bits of land
flounce skyward. I crane my neck
falling into it. A miller's wings
rattle on the sill preparing to
outfly a dog's jaw. Suddenly real
violence seems ordinary. I shake
no to say yes
Juice from fruit hips, gravity 
draws rose canes against my eyelid closed


Here are some basic exercises of the mind:
Colloquy between histories, a thumb on my knee
Its impression sweltering
These many years later
The wire between matter and its mouthpiece
Every Paris I visit is about a person placed in time
A provincial postcard about ambivalence between 
two apples. These photographs of you, your hands
tucked in wool I can still feel
I look at pictures like anything—
to inspect a reflection 
Pictures don’t speak about themselves
Pictures never spoke of themselves
Pictures never speak
But I listen


Frankenthaler called it “Causeway”
Something chancy as
squalls acting as guardrails
edging a softground train of red 
laced from above or should I say before
How does an incidental stain
trace an exploded
heart playing a bridge
between ocean and
threatening ocean?


Whatever dilates 
makes erotic
anything lit
The idea is to flatten texture
A family of blues 
turned milk to turquoise
let to swim, soaking
to their limit
But land is a word, a stake
pinned. And I king you  
with every he I speak—magnetic flowers
flock to the shrine
One night I coaxed heat 
from the desert
and let it swim my blood. Its pain
your namesake


Sara Renee Marshall is a poet and essayist. She holds a couple of degrees from University of Colorado. Her writing has appeared in The Volta, OmniVerse, Colorado Review, The Feminist Wire, Everyday Genius, in chapbooks, and elsewhere. She’s pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at University of Georgia. Sara lives and writes in Atlanta with Thomas and Rosa Bernadette.

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