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Sample Poems by June Saraceno



Ways to Leave Your Body


You think you are in your body
when you’re inside your head,
but you could be any place at all.

Move your parts like a doll and watch
from a distance as you lift the hand
in a gesture of farewell or hello.

Leave her placed there just so.
Travel beyond borders of blood and bone.
Strike out for parts unknown.

Open your third eye,
but don’t dismiss illusion as illusion.
Nexus of starry-eyed and star.

You may brush by death along the way.
Greetings are not necessary, a nod will do.

Integrate it all—the now, the touch, vision,
balance, pulse, sound, space—bring it all together
and allow it to carry you unanchored away.

Encounter yourself from the outside.
Shake your hand. Say what you need to say
to move on.


The Last Beautiful Moment

for Russell and Elizabeth


Unanchored abruptly into thin air,
she arced toward the sun,
dandelion-head with a backdrop
pooling blue.

In that last beautiful moment,
before the gravity of boulders
and jagged granite teeth,
she was wingless sylph
sky-borne.

He held her aloft in his eye.
His hands in unharnessed time,
drew the fire and air
that delivered her
back to light.



Waiting Room

Four of us are reading glossy magazines
or staring into space, avoiding each other’s eyes,
when the old man with a walker creeps in.
In labored slow motion, he lowers himself
into the chair across from me,
eyes the basket of goodies on a low table.

He tries to scoot his chair forward.
It doesn’t budge. He leans in, extends a shaky hand
toward the cornucopia between us.
I bend forward, “Can I pass you something?”
His bushy white brows knit over a rheumy glare.
He rumbles an angry urrrrrrr sound
as if to ward me off.

I lift the basket towards him.
He claws Rice Krispie treats, granola bars, Fig Newtons
piles them in his lap. He gnaws at the wrappers
until they give way. He eats it all, smacking
and spilling and sometimes even grunting.

We pretend not to watch. We blink,
avert our eyes from his obvious hunger.
At some point in eternity a nurse comes for him.
She waits in the doorway, upright and unmoving,
as he slowly ratchets himself up,
crumbs and cellphone fall around him
a path of shedding skin, debris,
marking his way out.



This Winter



The crows seem larger than life.
That one there—big as a cow,
sheen of jet feathers, marble-eyed surveyor,
gauges me as I approach.

Maybe it is a shift in proportion
brought on by winter.
My shadow wanes, dulled grey
and somewhat featureless on the frost.
The crow is an inky country by contrast.

This indifferent crow holds his ground.
I consider running madly at him
flapping to startle him into flight.
Then I consider the ditch between us
and continue my slow pace.

Passing, I see something dangles
from his beak—entrails? a dark ribbon?
the shoelace of the last person
who tried to jar him into the sky?

“You win,” I mutter under my breath.
A little uneasy at his presence behind me,
outside of my vision, I speed up slightly,
as though moving towards a deadline
that must be met.



Skiing the Yard Sale

Retelling the story, I’m too embarrassed to name
the bunny hill where I lay splayed like a rag doll,
a trail of gear marking the tumble of my undoing.

Endless equations of people dangled on the lift above,
suspended and swaying, their skis forming X’s V’s
and elevens over my face. My third day on skis,
this view was new to me. Flushed, I considered
my own over-exposed angles, the new geometry of me:
one leg pinned, two arms in awkward slashes against the snow,
taking a beat before heaving up the sum of my parts
to gather what I had lost on the hill above me
—a pole, a ski, hat, sunglasses, another pole, ski…

How lucky it seemed then when someone yelled
“YARD SALE!” above the shushing of upright skiers.
I was grateful for anything that would distract the eyes
from my awkward arrangement on the snow.

Even the amplified laughter and smattering
of applause was not enough to clue me in
that my public unpinning had been heralded on high
just in case anyone might have looked the other way.