“Traveler” by Sarah Satterlee

Sarah Satterlee


I used to think my mother was sad
used to think the dried
sponges she’d stack in piles beneath the sink were sad
the shaken bowls of pasta salad
the way her wrist paused while writing a check
her face scrunched up
as if the numbers were making excuses for themselves
as if she was disappointed that they never got into graduate school
as if she had caught them in bed with that boy from the gas station
the one whose teeth are bent who rings up the cigarettes
who steals scratch tickets from behind the counter
scrapes the metallic sheen
with his fingernails
brushes the silver dust to the floor.

I am the kind of person who will never leave the continent,
when it comes to disappointment I’ve got it in my bag,
I carry it from the store
in pieces, walk home in darkness, shut the door,
sit at the table, assemble it, smooth my hands
over the undulating spine.
It looks up at me, I feed it
and it sleeps in my lap.

from Rattle #55, Spring 2017

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Sarah Satterlee: “To me, poetry is the subterranean language of our collective humanity. When I read a good poem, I connect with it in a way I never do in everyday conversation with others. Each time I write, I try to submerge myself in the undercurrent of truth that runs through all of us, even if it isn’t pretty.” (website)

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