by Sarah Snyder
Surrounded by low bushes
and small thorny plants,
I sit, still and small beside the sharp branches
under a porch, listen for footsteps.
This is a game. It could be sardines,
hide & seek, capture the flag, kick
the can. It’s a neighborhood
where an avalanche
of kids are free until dark
when the parents ferment in a world
of clinking glasses and full ashtrays.
I am full of present—next
to the foundation of a house,
smelling the dirt, waiting
to be caught, to run, to scream,
to laugh, thinking about the coal
I buried in the yard, waiting
for a diamond.
To Be An Etch-A-Sketch
be an Etch-A-Sketch
When Lassie was heading
for a roaring waterfall,
I’d run down to the kitchen
breathless—carrying the image
of a dog caught in a current, her dark eyes
tremulous just above the river’s rim.
No one can save her! I said
to a mother who knew about the endings.
She’d try to shoo me up the stairs
to see the collie rescued (by Timmy or his father),
but I could not bear the imagined
plunge of rocky death.
And now, an open window, flimsy
screen, the possibility
of a child climbing on a sill,
teetering beyond a reach—
in some small projector screen
I wince, try to shudder
away the image
to a cleaned slate.
The Art of Being
A baby swaddled in cotton, tucked
in the car seat traveling home
because one nurse believed.
Listen to a drowsy murmur, a soft wish—
the sun gliding into the rising sea,
a vacuum grunting across the stiff carpet,
a bird’s call loosening in wind.
Her fingertip glides across the iced cake top.
The shadow pumps along the steamy macadam.
The silver ring twirls from a string on the porch alone
in the house on a hill.
A raft drifts calmly in the swelling river.
We sit among willowy women, and there is no
escaping the coffin. Why else would we all move around
a star in such clarity, with such obedience?
Maybe finding something
at a yard sale or in the attic,
brushing off the dust,
an inadvertent scraping
of the surface, realizing something
is below—how the weight
of one green leaf
in summer light uncovers the other you,
the discoverer, keeps scribbling
as if a life were worth transcribing,
as if blessings clambered,
as if a grocery list were a poem—
This is a Plan
A leap into the frothy
to the surface
encounters the Ganges
rushing toward Rishikesh
floating over river stones—
an eagle in the sky.
About the Author:
Sarah Dickenson Snyder has written poetry since she knew there was a form with conscious line breaks. She has two poetry collections, The Human Contract and Notes from a Nomad. Recently, poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Stirring: a Literary Journal, Whale Road Review, Front Porch, The Sewanee Review, and RHINO. In May of 2016, she was a 30/30 Poet for Tupelo Press. One poem was selected by Mass Poetry Festival Migration Contest to be stenciled on the sidewalk in Salem, MA, for the annual festival, April 2017. Another poem was nominated for Best of Net 2017.