Three Poems – Sarah F Moran

Flood (1951) Thomas Hart Benton

Flood (1951) Thomas Hart Benton

Caution: Go Slow

I work with the flinching dog,
unable to speak its history, given the yellow caution card
to decorate its cage
The cower and the cover and the rage that hides behind
the snarl of teeth and spit.
I’m full of snarl and teeth and spit.
The low growl, hide in the corner, eye cut, 
is a mask.
Somewhere inside the shiver is forgiveness.
Somewhere inside the eyes is love.
I flinch sometimes when you touch me.
I resist my snarl and teeth and spit.
I cannot find the forgiveness inside my shiver.
I cannot recognize the love behind my big brown eyes.
I want my own cage
and my own understanding:
I’m silent now like the dog;
            unable to articulate my history.
Full of snarl and teeth and spit
Not seeing the love pouring off the raised hand
but desiring.  

The Flood

Because it came to wash away our sins
I forgot that every night I lay down
next to a woman
and when the lightning lit up the room
I remembered why.

I remembered why the floods
and I remembered how beautiful a face can be.

The pound of the thunder shaking the house
and the tornado sirens in the distance were warning
about the eventual come
of this cleansing,

or so it’s been said.

The alarms were sounding and the news
showcased the horrors but I don’t know
if we fully know the horrors.

The dogs stuck in trees 
                          been swept away
                                        down river,
they know.
           They howl with the sirens and no one knows where their
                          home is.

None of us know where home is.

We did rain dances for decades 
and we didn’t know what we were dancing for.

Now we float
or sink
or meander in the middle of the two
looking up and looking down at the same time
for some kind of prayer.

The fish that came swimming through houses
are gasping for air now,
like we’re gasping for air now
and wondering why, why so much rain,
when we never danced that intensely.

The mosquitos carry more now than they ever did.
I wonder if we know what we pray for.

Because the storm rattles the foundation of my home
and its illumination of my lover is simple, poetry.

The way light casts shadows across her skin 
It makes you forget about the sirens.

I don’t know what sort of cleansing a flood is for.
I don’t know what Noah was running from.
I don’t know what we are running from.

The dogs howling in the trees for home
are an echo of my longing.

It isn’t the rising water we’re afraid of,
it’s ourselves.

Skipping Rocks

Jump Jump
miss the cracks
know that I knew you before badge and bullets and the twisted way we weave.
Break down
and see how
we are always so much bigger than the things we witness.
Jump jump
and hurdle the mud holes
I hug you now and you’re still smaller than me, a little boy riding a bike and smiling his 
crooked-tooth smile
Seesaw life
and hold my hand
understand the rock you play is life, not one I lean on –  one I use as weapon
Skip skip
that rock across this divide
see the way it pings against the surface of all the things we wish for
Jump jump
and peek over my fence
see the backyard worth of secrets I kept from you, to keep you strong

About Sarah F Moran

Sarah Frances Moran is a writer, editor, animal lover, videogamer, queer Latina. She thinks Chihuahuas should rule the world and prefers their company to people 90% of the time. Her work has most recently been published or is upcoming in FreezeRay Poetry, Drunk Monkeys, Rust+Moth, Maudlin House, Blackheart Magazine, East Jasmine Review and The Bitchin' Kitsch. She is Editor/Founder of Yellow Chair Review. These days you can find her kayaking the Brazos in Waco, Texas with her partner. You may reach her at View all posts by Sarah F Moran

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