Dear A— (an excerpt)

Sometimes I buy you a pear. The middle child of earthly treats. A male. He’s 
interested in knitting from a young age. He wishes to attend a knitting convention 
in Chicago, in November 
he longs for shared interest. 
Chicago is pregnant with smells and the promise of a parade. It is red. 
Something that will take up space, everyone looking up but unafraid. 
A morning for the sky to sit down in a chair, throw a blanket over its head 
like the anxious gorilla in captivity; the bird cage. The purple flowers in patches. 
The yellow hills that wear them. He is like you, he possesses 
a parentally dismissive intellect. 
He does not exercise regularly. 
He balks at wearing matching shirts. He is full of sun-mares, 
other pilots of the mind, shaped like black horses. 
He takes bites out of the sun. 
Other days it is a pomegranate. That confused blessing. It reminds me of breasts 
or a tiny deer. It is impossible to share with hands. Except we did once. 
We were on that stone wall by the undertaker’s cottage with the extra green lawn. 
You had never had one before. We extracted the seeds in the dark 
like ticks from the dog’s back. Like pulling the sleepers from their tent, 
by the feet. The flashlight yellowing, we were tiny 
surgeons, delicious monkeys, expressive shadows 
you tore my stockings 
like a silvering spider. I didn’t even hear a rip. 
I leaned over a tombstone called BELL. 
Once it was an apricot but I lost it. 
I should have kept it in my hand and hand delivered it. 
I put your fruit in my satchel with the rest of the loose benches I’ve collected. 
I could be the owner of your paper doll, 
put small legs on top of yours, dress you, make sure you’re inside 
if it rains. What I mean, is that when I am buying my lunch or pencils, 
wine or cigarettes and I see the produce section, 
there is always some underrated fruit 
I want to buy for you. 
Occasionally, the kiwi. You’d put the whole thing in your mouth 
and bite down. Extract the tiny towel 
from your lips, a thin bone, a chicken thing, 
hand it to me like a handkerchief. 
I want to wipe your mouth. 
You dirty idol. I whisper your name on the train. 
I notice that you walk with a limp. You are a boulder. 
Bigger than a boulder, bigger than grass. 
The fruit I buy is unbagged. It gets pushed against books 
a can of this or a couple of rocks. I never give them to you. 
I examine the slits in their hips. The perimeter of the damage 
browns like the in-between of sand and water. 
I want to hand it to you behind a shelf most of all. 
You make me wish for more curtains. 

Song for a Limousine Ride

I stole the kite, I drank beer, I ate people’s time to learn 
I love to own nothing. Paper work is baffling and I assure you, 
not real. I’ve treated pets like room mates, expected them to clean 
and when they left, I understood 
I am hard to live with. 
I prefer my mail unopened, like the spider hotel 
I never got off the ground 
full of flowers inside, for comfortable casting, yellow 
pillows, Kayla Pillow 
in the coatroom with a new black tooth, 
I hit her with a ball. 
To be honest, I’m worried about the roads. 
I want to be brother honest, sister 
shared danger of a passenger seat, the ability 
to make something louder, the western saddle 
of buses to trains, and in a letter I wrote to my brother once, 
peering over a landfill outside of New York, 
I believe in the triple seat closest to the bathroom 
with the flapping door and the smell of bad aim. 
Andrew, why does all garbage smell the same? 
Like balloons and tornados? Do you remember seeing 
the band ‘Garbage smells good’ and their hit song, 
‘Garbage doesn’t smell good?’ 
The letter concluded with a detailed experience at an Arby’s. 
How will I act in a crisis situation? 
I’ll cover my mouth. 
I will also be like smoke against that pink light, 
a lake-shaped key. Moving with animals, 
we stop in front of cars before they hit us. 
It will go one of two ways – 
once, I drove into water, 
pulled off my pants and jumped out the window, blue 
-jay, a finger snap, a one sound. 
That being said – once 
while running from police, I hid beneath a car 
and with something that close 
above me, I fell asleep. 


Sara Martin was raised in New Jersey on local politics, hairless cats and rocks. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and is a guest lecturer at the IIML, Victoria University.