Pancake Your Palm

by  Sarah Kai Neal

Through hatchglass I watched electric

wires tattoo black waves on sky:

your breathing cargo through five states,

headed for the two on the clock―

blueweed, blueblade ticking

white-washed hammered

roads, linking closed the beasts

whose great flanks funneled

down to stick, so we’d know

when we got there

A Fordbed filled with corn

my body through grains

pretended quicksand, laid in seed

to my throat, yellow sliding

into my socks, I learned how

to keep my fingers, pancake

your palm so velvet

comes to it, breathes

in your hand   the lip folds up I found

numbers needled into each gum

When the ground groaned

up through my plastic soles

so strange to feel

Earth quiver

he’d keep mucking she’d

keep sweeping

I went searching where the gravel

fizzled out, till I found her

opened, pouring

a river of coal and black


as though we’d never left

as though we’d come back

to where you said  I hoped

you wouldn’t remember all that

You climbed the fence last night, hooked

the chain so beasts couldn’t run     free   

You climbed the way women in our family do―

rung by rung they climb over, into

the hay of each other


Sarah Kai Neal received her MFA in Poetry Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in December 2011. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in: North American Review; Stone Highway Review; Wicked Alice; Miller’s Pond; Collage; the zine EnterRuption and elsewhere. She read at the 2011 Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival and now resides in the Nashville area where she facilitates a Creative Writing workshop for mental health consumers.

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