Two Poems by Sarah Blake


Followed by Dusk and Then

The man and woman are together again in some sunlight over there,
a place to be later filled with fireflies which will not be caught or chased at all

except by what? A bird? Who eats a firefly at dusk? It’s silly to always
be getting ahead. The man is good at holding his back straight but perhaps
the woman’s back is not the first thing anyone would notice. Maybe her hair,

the mess of it in this light—light which is changing the color of her hair
as they speak. What else is changing? The circulation in their legs? What
do they prepare for? Do they see some frog and anthropomorphize it

and let that dictate their next move? Are they sitting down now, going
for each other’s knees? Do they receive each other, or are they really
leaving and ready to be leaving? What makes departure so uncomfortable?

Turning from a table, walking away from someone still in a warm room, leaving
even a driveway. Why so marked in action? And so in memory. No wonder
the fear of death. No wonder the questioning of the sun and the position

of all the universe, etc. The man and woman married each other in the sun.
At any distance, it’s clear that is what they did.

I Am Become All Things to All Men,
That I May By All Means Save Some

1 Corinthians ix. 22.

I go to sign in at my doctor’s office.
Before me on the list, “Angel-Fire Boys Survive.”
I turn to see four boys throwing punches
with dirty fists. I write, “Woman Rescues
Her Finger From a Soda Can’s Lip.”
The receptionist looks at me like I’m a man.
Hating the way things look crossed-out,
I write my name in parentheses.
The boys are calling each other faggots,
talking like angry men, stealing deep voices.
One crawls to where I’m sitting and runs
his hand under the cuff of my pants. I kick him.
He doesn’t leave so I show him a game where
we try to knock away each other’s footing.
He touches my breasts and I slap him
and he loses his footing and I win.
He goes back to show the other boys.
The doctor is younger than me,
which isn’t possible because I am young,
but I still trust him. He looks at my finger
and touches my breasts and takes
my pulse between my legs. The boys
see this. The one that held my ankle stays
outside the door.
All the angel-fire boys
follow me when I leave. In the parking lot
I run them over, every one.

About the Author:

Sarah Blake is Editor at Saturnalia Books and co-founder of Submittrs. Her first book, Mr. West, is an unauthorized lyric biography of Kanye West and was published in March from Wesleyan University Press.