I’m sorry I am [n]ever seen


I look for you every day

A deer in two overlaid poses

Drinks and not drinks pond water

It’s fun to not make it to Oregon you can write

Something funny on your tombstone

One deer eats alfalfa one deer eats

Her mate’s heart one day I simply decide not to

Pay attention I can feel the energy

In this room it’s like kids

Designed a utopian society there’s penguins

Lined up in a case behind glass

In a little town when I know what I am doing

I will know what I am doing

When someone important

Tells you c’mon you didn’t mean that

You don’t

Want it to mean

Anything I call you from the lobby

Crying because

Maybe the baby wasn’t

Moving on your mouth I will say it

Under the oak tree I will

When I’m there with you

Our personal forest someone paved

A path but other than that and the photographers

It’s the kind of thing a girl remembers

The year before that year I was bringing my essay

To his house it wasn’t a sex thing though

It felt intrusive like watching dogs hump

The furniture it’s a tired notion

That bodies and souls have separate

Concerns one dies

But not the other the last swan

Has to walk around with one human arm

Feeling like there’s never an employee around

When he has a question

I put the essay

In his mailbox I put on mascara

At the bus stop before a date

But then just went home joined the Wildlife

Society because you happened to wear a wolf

Sweatshirt that day or a circle skirt

Embroidered with koi

So orange they could burn you alive

I mean here’s hoping right

The news will call you         

Filled with light     but

What goes down is that the light is filled with you

The pamphlets illustrate repentance

Let us go down to the river

Let us go but let us go gently but let us

Go if we are going but let us

Go down the angel in the painting

Wakes with his wing the little kids

Was comfort his intention I never got that

I preferred silver coins tied with silver

Ribbons to the silver naming tree

When I slept there I chose the mossy room

Sconces dipped down their tin-can

Moon dust on the wallpaper what I thought

Were cabbages I later found were roses

When he wakes them they are found

Through a needle’s eye with other formerly alive

Creatures one a police horse one a mayfly

Powerless to administer

Justice didn’t it seem loveless then

Wild to wake on waking’s other side

I mean like totally bananas

Of all the sins the worst

Is false cheer

Close the door who’s dead to me

Does not stay dead in hell I do not stay

Angry as long as I mean to you had to lie there

Without moving a metered band across your belly

Listen for a butterfly listen for a sea

Lion listen for an earthquake swarm

Could you feel even one earthquake

Divers must regain the surface at a certain rate

The delivery guy brings sesame noodles

There’s dancing on TV and everybody

Back then can sing but I think Fred

Astaire’s a homely dude if he

Brings me a white gardenia

I’ll close the damn door

If I should die before I wake

I’m someone

Else’s problem                     

          O monolith

                        O unworn body

I’d like to tell the mountains get behind me

I’d like to be born in blossomtime

                                                I’m weary

            It’s hard to tell

                        Into which dimension

The gray

                        Cat ventured

            I planned to change my dress when I arrived

The house was a light box it was

Sunday both the first day and the last

            A week can have

Another birth but bulletproof

My black shoes shone

Sunday ones down to the strap

When I stood on his laid-out body

To me he became a mattress I think

There’s a film about it now

They make stick figures in the woods

And have to torch them

It’s a magic power

To be a girl you have to touch other people

If you want to stick around hell even if you don’t

Torches tell you where to look

The lions regenerate when you close

Each eye each time

Gold poison in the blood

The outlines of everything you need

Resist the conditions of what you’ll do

Willingly I mean there’s rules to all of this

Animals need smaller desks than humans

Underwater a mermaid’s hair

Never stops moving

On land it’s heavier than a neck can hold

When I had an office job I thought I should

Write poems that did their job now it’s clear

A job’s what poems must never do

It’s not a kind of honest work

Elizabeth takes my picture and I take hers

Andromeda was tied to rocks and tortured

She says when I point out the queen’s

Gilt chair outlined in stars if those lights

Are planes I want to know where they’ve been

I desire crème de violette

Someone on this roof deck is having

Public sex I don’t know if a mind can

Build a separate world

Who would ever want to live

Closed up that way it’s probably

Too late for this

Place though

I’ll miss its sometime beauty

There are rules there are cloud-covered

Stars surrender human or pretend to

Admire the gooey moon going stale

Behind the Capital One building

You always say the worst shit it’s been awhile

Since you tried to go anywhere

How will you participate

In fashion if you don’t shave half your hair

Take a summer cabin go back

To TJ Maxx there were birds on the shower

Curtains there were decorative owls

And almond scented soap bars

Where will the money come from

Can’t work under these conditions

Once you hear the trumpet layering

The silver notes you’re ready to make a promise

On your honor or so the swan felt

Playing taps for the children’s camp

If the stars gleam down to you

Who are you to dream and meanwhile

A cartoon cat ingests his own ribs

It’s how he reassembles them

Sara Wainscott is the author of Insecurity System, winner of the 2019 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize (Persea, 2020), and a chapbook, Queen of the Moon (dancing girl press, 2017). She is the recipient of a fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy and has been named to the NewCity “Lit 50” list of people who influence literature in Chicago. // @ctrl_alt_roses

Banner image by Olivia Cronk