/sarah street

Ode To The Bodies In The Grass

On December 26, 1862, thirty-eight Dakota prisoners were led to a scaffold…it was later discovered that two men had been mistakenly hanged. -Minnesota Historical Society

Praise the head with a mouth drooling grass,
the hands that weave blades
into a raptured earth. Praise the slope
of a swollen neck, the bulge
of veins brined with maggots.
Native tongue unfurls onto the field.

10:00 AM and necks twist
into the shadows of a Minnesota cedar. Bodies collapse
like wind chimes, making some kind of sound;
a diminished triad or a bomb raid.
All melodies perish.

A coroner cuts the ropes, grunting in unison
with execution drums. Mouths
freeze into silent O’s, each soul mourning
for the blood-dashed place

where life replicates itself. On this platform,
the first body was a mistake, the second
a signal from God.

Things are circling back again.

At Night, They Listen

While EU member states debate the resettlement of refugees from the Aegean islands, more than 14,500 people are facing another winter in island refugee camps.-The Guardian

Eyes set on the ocean, a mother
makes an offering to the sea. Cradles
the hollowed slope of her breast
between creased palms, her pupils
a lighthouse in search of a mouth.

They haven’t slept yet.

In the distance, a child soaks olive soil
a deep red like the flirtatious glow
of a bomb in the shape of Damascus.
And there, in the tent city,
a pair of tired eyes tucks away
a fallen sky, folds layers
of milk-smoke into the safety
of the periphery.

They haven’t slept yet.

The sky a lake now,
a father wraps marbled limbs
in tarpaulin. Rivers of mud
baptize the night sky treacle–
reciprocate the moon
as she shields her stars. No dreams now,
no border too broad,
the father steps into the water.

They have not

Sarah Street’s poetry has been published in the Rising Phoenix Review, UpNorth Lit, Aerie International, and others. Her work has been recognized by Hollins University, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and the New York Times.