Sage Schilling, The Dammed River

I Took Your Parking Space

even though, honestly, you’d have to
perform a magnificent feat of steering and time
to make this not mine.

As I sit here, warm from the cold Christmas air,
sipping my organic nut milk,
I make a holiday wish:
this is not your destination,
that you forget the color of my car,
find the perfect parking spot,
that someone hands you a cold-pressed juice for free,
you find yoga pants on sale,

so I can stop looking out the window
at my violet blue Honda with Oklahoma license plate
because you know exactly where I parked.

Safe Room

I wish I had a person who was a safe room,
not a tick clumsily removed, embedded limbs
that never dissolve, forcing me to pull on skin,
stare at an inflamed red that persistently
flares despite lemon balm tinctures and prayer.

To her, I am an Atheist

Only 33 minutes into our neighborly walk,
she was not unkind. The day before, we met
as strangers, my bare midriff sunning, but “slut”
never slid from her smile. Perhaps this town
is not Gilead yet. “I believe in the universe,”
when she asked my God-preference but left
out Jesus never considered himself God. Too
soon. Our dynamic conjured my own past
evangelizations: fundamentalist adolescence
translating profession of disbelief as battle.

“I empathize,” I said, because I did, witnessing
the tug-of-war between her smooth-as-egg
ideology and the way I wanted to be her mother,
nurturing copper mallet’s first gentle crack.

Saturday of No-Self

how easily we slip into this thick, white wall
made of air without noticing; it makes
our thoughts clean.

We float along like leaves
in Saturn’s stream, unable to feel the breeze
that is obscured by the privileged
heat of the elite.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Alive and Well

I cannot enjoy this toast
butter and celery salt;
I want to consume the menu
so it can ground my guilt,
drown it like a little girl
in a gritty lake, my arms
folded as I watch.
That little girl is Bad Me.

She makes me think
this toast is poison. I can’t
touch it with my hands. Hands
are poison. I need
to wash them. Don’t touch
anything with your hands.

There is a guy reading Tao Lin.
A reviewer on the internet
remarked no one approaches him
when he reads Tao Lin.

I leave my toast
to find the book to prove
the internet guy wrong.
I hate wasting toast.

The book is in my hand
as I return to the cafe.
My toast is still there. Tao Lin
is a glistening totem I hope signals
I am not hysterical or an asshole.

A Moment Already Forgotten

Cool, calm, casual-as-fuck, distant you weren’t,
just slits of greedy bedroom gaze, graze of arm
so that my corpus cramped instead of bloomed
like orchids at night. Balance between friend
and lover is the energy I need at initial meeting,
a pull of moon to make me move toward you
like sea to beached medusa, ready to be revived.

Kerouac, mentions of Benedetti, camping, howling
with the Mexicali Kumeyaay to ease the sorrow
you felt after losing your child, you still a child.
PhD, like me, and a career in organic farming,
I imagined living with you in a Mexican hacienda
near the border of a country I try to escape.
Do I surrender to your Moroccan plaid arms?

Now, perched on a bench in the cafe directly across
from my flat, where you sit, waiting for me to leave,
I drink tea and think about how you wanted
to slip beneath my jacket during our midnight
walk through sand with your dog, about insistent
invitations to drive five hours to Barcelona,

five more days together, adding to these hours.
“I have to leave now” and “Where are you?”
I flip the screen to obscurity, mute love-signals
except the pulsing of the tides within which
cannot be tamed, my axis already tilting further
than I am comfortable with. Don’t you realize

I am a river dammed, needing years to flow again;
but even a peach needs to be left on its branch,
fostering warm environment, then a mouth to savor
sticky sections, flesh being cradled in balmy mouth,
gestation in womb to fully form, evolution taking
place in a cave of shadows and sparks before torches.

Sage Schilling intends to reside in Boulder, CO should she return to her home country. For now, she is travelling through Spain, Ireland, and elsewhere in Europe for 90-day increments to commune in nature and work on her second poetry chapbook. Schilling teaches composition online at Oklahoma State University. She received her PhD in Religion and has an MA in Poetry. She regularly contributes to http://www.feminismandreligion.com (under the name Lache S.).

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @seagreengoddess

2 thoughts on “Sage Schilling, The Dammed River

  1. Thank you for posting your thoughts. I read them while ignoring a bar full of people, loudly talking to subvert the music. Ignoring them was simplicity. Your voice kept my focus as I imagined it as I read. Reading, unraveling words, but creating questions and a puzzle for which I fear I have no key … but may try to turn anyway.

    Like

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