“Lorazepam” by Sam Sax

Sam Sax


i don’t know shit
about the throat
of a sparrow.
how it can sing
& fly at the same
time. this couch
a sovereign object.
this back, a cadillac
on cinderblocks.
i stood once,
not for something,
rather, on my way
to the kitchen
for something to eat.
i bit into an apple, 
quite the achievement.
i wanted to be high
so lied to the doctor
about my anxiety,
the panic attacks
began then. naming
the disease made it
open like a primer
in my chest. wicked
mouth, peeling apple
after apple after reading
their skins are poison,
same goes for the seeds.
my man is a monster,
gunfire in the street.
praise the demigod
pharmacy for this
calm blood remedy,
which lets me do
nothing. my back
pinned to the cushion
again. my body, this
magnificent prison,
the ceiling above
bigger than any sky,
one a bird might fall
out of, singing         as it dies.

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015


Sam Sax: “This poem’s from a series of drug sonnets—uncut rock pulled from the dark earth. I love the tension between the sonnet form and what potential is alive and writhing in the poem. I want my work to sing from the page—when I first fell in love with poetry is when a book came to life in my hands and head.” (website)

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