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Sarah Jones

Woman Cento

                                         I’ve wasted my whole life in water


                    with a word beating against my cheek


                                                       like a little glass hammer. 


                                                                  If words are veils, what do they hide?

                                Bonfires of roses in the snow?—


                     Where I grieved my deaths


                                                     beneath a sea of shifting snow dunes 


         I never spoke a word. I burst empty—


                             bouquet of the body, its floral parts.

Sonnet for Gretchen

           “Knead and make ready your pretty doll.” 

                   –Mephistopheles, Part 1 of Goethe’s Faust. 


I don’t even have to potion my mother

to sleep—she allows an older man to enter

my bedroom, to speak without charm 

about how much it hurts, how blue

his balls will be if I don’t separate myself

on the floor before a glowing space heater.

Like Gretchen, I wonder about God—

how to keep the covenant I made 

at baptism, and so I touch the sleeper’s

arm and say, Should we marry? Red 

flicker in his eyes—I have a wife, he says.

I realize filling jugs with fresh flowers

has blinked past—I’m already at the end act

of wetting houseplants with my tears.

Sarah Jones is a Seattle-based poet. She is the author of the chapbook Lies I Tell Myself (dancing girl press & studio, 2018). Sarah's poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, American Literary Review, The Normal School, Entropy magazine, Maudlin House, Raven Chronicles, City Arts Magazine, and many others. Sarah has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. She holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from Antioch University, Los Angeles.

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