S a r a h R o s e n t h a l


<<Two Poems>>


gender, salamander




she's the friend of salamanders


plump blonde new-ager surrounded by big green slug-type things I call salamanders.
but nikky sez salamanders are red. hence the fire connection, that's why phoenix
came up. that's why earlier flying on an afghan scared and mark sez aw come on. above
icy scene of pine trees and lake and snow covered hills. not a place you'd want to fall
but the possibility of falling is what makes it real


i'm wearing a mask when I write this


there's a sign above my desk and it says gender


hide it under a bushel no. in the fall bushel baskets people put leaves in. leaf fires. the
smell meaning something's been raked. bands around the baskets holding vertical strips
in place were


where salamanders come from. salamanders are impolite

are namesakes. do not blow this candle out









Dear A,

Time dries. Reality fingers. A car alarm punctures the power-line-moon-map you created
and we laid out. You used to be a book, now you're a book order. Three women face
water, pluck at lemons. A cavorting dog intervenes.



Dear B,

Messages from you sound happy. I play them back. Head of the year, grime creeps on a
window. Apples and honey in Chicago. Lost feels good to you when you eat.



Dear C,

We agree on ten minutes. In that space my eggs grow wings. The relation of each to a
replaceable third forms the core of this dilemma. A man knelt at another's knees. Pronounce
this name for me. Spell it backward.



Dear D,

Your presentation, my presentation. Funny how we nail ourselves to passing clouds, hurl
ourselves past events in order to get some sleep. I forgive us. Here are the numbers 44 and
45. A soup of questionable leftovers. Font, cream, a song improvised on a rocker.



Dear E,

Stink. Adamant. How do I use this disposable camera. Don't burn your hair. Who spit the
nuts out of the peanut m&m's. Everyone at this party designs something. Think of it as a story
I didn't get around to writing.



Dear F,

Think of a better printer, you who place a welcome bid. Think of how you're plump bird.
A correspondent resistance, a shadow box. I like to see you all lined up in a museum.
Your sex is a button lighting underwater blue. Your shape is an introduction, your
sweaty nape midwestern.



Dear G,

I give you compliments. If you're a better mother. If yellow's not a color. If filter means
a mouth in my mouth. If girls beat me up. If we hoist cold matter. A snowball. I should
send you one. Monopoly. Favor.



Dear H,

I believe you always live like this, this couch, this office. Bias cut. You've studied a certain
man and left him for dead. You've chosen grey under skin zone. I like how you talk of a pig
like it's some kind of pillow. How mother steps out of refrigerator. Lines shoot out from all
your fingers, connecting dots.


Dear I,

Towel becomes curtain, thank tacks. What happened to the "d' in "David." Who became the
little dead neighbor. Who broke stones. Jew. Pedagogy. 22. Recast this as me looking at a
dianthus, past that a tree, past that a painting by Caravaggio. I mean go around the bend like
light can.


Dear J,

When you take a pill I do, sugar daddy. Here's how to lay a rug. I'm all cuted out. Your eyes
lean slightly forward from the waist. Flat back, arms extended. The invention of writing took
the "du" out of "you."


Dear K-Z,

Tiny's head is cut off in your beautiful fake forest. You rule the summer. So polite verdant
hair, white hills, a Canadian could learn to love you if she attended the lecture. She's just
a nurse living in the south, her mother's a home owned by six offspring. Who confabulate.
Let's leave it for the next generation. Let's put it on a flatbed truck and drive it somewhere.


Sarah Rosenthal received an MFA from San Francisco State University. Her
poetry, fiction and nonfiction can be found in Tripwire, lyric&, Rooms,
Melodeon, Fourteen Hills, Mirage/Period(ical), and Tinfish as well as
the online magazine The Lady in the Lake (www.ladyinthelake.com/master.htm).
Her chapbook not-chicago was published by Melodeon Poetry Systems in
1999 and is available from Small Press Distribution (www.spdbooks.org).
"Local Howlers," her poetry column featuring Bay Area poets, is located at
www.citysearch.com. Sarah is the recipient of the Primavera Prize and
the Leo Litwak Award for her experimental fiction. She has taught creative
writing at San Francisco State University and currently teaches private
poetry workshops in San Francisco, for more information see Sarah's web page
located at www.sarahrosenthal.com



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