S&R Poetry: “For Amien, Who Asks If I Still Write Poetry,” by Sarah Jordan Stout

I was at the bar,
worried my hair looked like Frankenstien’s bride,
admiring your tan arms.

My hands wiped air like napkins
I don’t know what I expected them to say—
didn’t know they were wilted sheets,
surrender flags.

When we watched the Bollywood movie,
I wanted to be that girl who unfurled
in a thousand layers of red,
the chirpy hip and finger, who twirled like a metaphor.
I don’t know yet if she is who I was one time,
or who we all cannot ever reach—

Sometimes I wake up like a dazed drinker
an untucked drunk, flat off the stool
derelict and drooling. I turn 85 every ten years or so.
hair grows out my ears like clover, I’m embarrassed to admit.

This time when I wake, you and the dancing girl are gone.
I spread my wrinkled hands wide like slow lava
say How did I get here? Over and over to my husband,
asleep beside me. I shake him but he does not wake up.
I stumble on the floor, away from him and the bed.
Someone’s left armoirs out like landmines
so I must crawl and feel for table legs.

I suspect I need someone, Amien,
but my eyesight’s not too good
on account of cataracts, and my car won’t start,
and my shoes won’t walk, and the coffee tastes like soap.

Fruit flies overtook my kitchen, I let them have it.

These days, I spend hours with the girl in red,
a florid nightlight on my gray temple,
and I still don’t know what she means.

_____

Sarah Jordan Stout is an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee. In addition to her poetry, she’s also an actress building an interdisciplinary degree in playwriting. 

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