Science and Change and other poems by Sarah Sarai

I declined a knighthood honoring my heroic efforts at keeping heroism effortless, something I perfected while lateral-to-prone-ish, modeling a languid nobility which defined my Why Not Give It A Shot-ness much as when a road I am on forks, and what with poor decision-making, which leads to backtracks and do-overs, I try-out all tines of the many—dessert—dinner—terrapin—toasting—tea—spork—to name six—and fret I am mistress of not much in the long run, short haul, or myself, let alone the silver which needs a polish. A whack and a polish. So end-of-day I slide between sheets to digest myself, me, a caterpillar who believes in science and change.


That’s when you discover beauty is not enough.
Because a land claim stipulates
Possession and its percentages.
Because blowing one-tenth of
The Commandments is common law.
Because it never favors the lover possessed.
Because the devolvement of beauty’s insufficiencies
Becomes mere poetry.
And everything winnows to that straight
between mythological thighs.
Because making pleasurable is a taunt.
Because beauty is the least of it.
Because what is.

By Any

as if vertebrae slither in
and out of sensory cores,
her sideways glance is
an obligation you feel
in your skeletal skyscraper
I’ll call the longing
spine, as if yoga masters
named it for, oh, what is
that word dragging you
on a walled-in carpet of
eels and alloys feet-first
to a couch long and soft
and oh, so wide, a couch
so very wide.

Six Aunts Wobbling

Slim Aunt Shirley went
home and straight Aunt Gin
wiped her furred lip’s
beer moustache,
something I sport now and
then but not her bosoms.

Queer Aunt Denise,
who is not Denise my
dyke-aunt, summoned the
spirit of my aunt passed over—
Tilly with the bad eye.
She was a whip at cards.

Poppy yodels
before and after shots.

Aunt Denise who is my
dyke-aunt partnered with
Queer Aunt Denise.
She has the Tilly-gift at cards.

Poppy and bosomy Gin crossed
ankles like fingers as they
cheated and lied
in the way of families.

Both Denises shouted at Poppy.
Stop Yodeling, Would you!
She poured another round.

And the Ships Set Off

In the desert where God grew a goddess, a snake, a devil, temptation and time to think I found a clay pot containing knowledge of more than me. The clay pot wasn’t for sale so I stole it. The world is worth a broken tablet. In the clay pot containing knowledge of more than me wars were swapped and elegies of them. Used-up gods were tricked-out as luck, good, bad and to be determined. There was dancing and indigestion. The punch packed a wallop. Snakes bid for attention. What they hissed was anyone’s guess. Oh. There was Helen. Knowledge of greater than me is a universal. Knowledge of the specific of me is a boutique. Knowledge of Helen and me is yours for the asking. She was a keeper, was kept and I, like another, stole her to keep her. A woman like that for a woman like me is worth a broken tablet.


Sarah Sarai lives in New York City, writes poetry and fiction, teaches, edits, and watches the clouds for signals from the firmament. Her work is in Sinister WisdomCleaver, Ascent, Cordite Poetry Review, Posit, The CollagistdecomP, Painted Bride Quarterly, Boston Review, Callisto, Barrow Street and many other journals; in various anthologies; and some hearts. She is the author of Geographies of Soul and Taffeta (Indolent Books) and The Future Is Happy (BlazeVOX).