Poetry Suite by Sam Sax

Editor Carrie Ivy, Poetry, January 13th, 2014

It begins with awe ballooning in his stomach...

sam sax poetry suite nailed magazine

the boy detective discovers his parents having sex

take a sound. stretch it into the most horrible
shape you can imagine. the boy was curious.
was it the house that moaned like that, caught
in some muted storm? if you stare at a door

long enough you can see through it. placed
his eye to the key hole. his whole body went
stiff when faced with his origin. empty square
of a cowboy gripping the pale horse by its

knotted mane. her giant head lifted a foot from
the bed, reigns flexed in his hands. heard her
whimper with the light switch. the pastoral picture
of a mare painted over a far more hideous image.

he still remembers the sound, loving the steel
bit in her mouth, a door hinge screaming open.

+ + +

the boy detective searches for love

if you look hard enough into another person
you see yourself. that’s how the boy first found
love. the mirror’s veil falling in the eyes of another
boy across the cafeteria counter.

everyone else was white noise as they both ate
white bread sandwiches in silence. their sneakers
touched beneath the table, a current passed
through their rubber souls and open eyes.

later the boy detective took him into his mouth.
noted the sponged expansion of blood. conjectured
this boy would buck when he ran his tongue over
the frenulum. and he did, gunned down deer,

twitching between life and its opposite. love
is spilt milk. is control, anyway that you can.

+ + +

the boy detective investigates death

from the hallway you can hear the machines bleat
their choral pastiche. one body leaving the world
another screaming out into its empty place. the boy
sits on the edge of an empty hospital bed. it has been

made to look neat, as though death could be folded
and bleached out. but he knows how to listen close,
to feel the weight left behind inside the mattress.
he wonders if he can calculate the precise mass

of a soul this way. what matter is left behind by
the dying? he places a stethoscope to the hospital
sheets and listens for evidence that this place is the
way station between hospitals he’s always suspected.

in the deep silence he decides that every time he lays
down he dies and each time he rises up he’s born again.

+ + +

the boy detective burns ants

it begins with awe ballooning in
his stomach. an insect that moves
only when his brothers do. holds
itself over a hundred times to keep

his family alive. the boy detective’s
mother even smells sad. no matter
what strange thing he brings in from
outside. her mouth lays flat as a dead

animal, tells him into the sun, into
the bright march forward with all
you can carry. he redirects god, smoke
rises in tiny screams. the insect meat

cooking inside its shining exoskeleton.
their mouths don’t open once.

+ + +

the boy detective loses love

there should be a word for how the world turns
to amber resin with a long dead wasp gasping
inside when somebody leaves you. the boy tries
to catalogue each betrayal, rage shouting

up through his skin. this way he could understand.
marker on the wall, lipstick on the mirror, ink
spreading its arms across every page in his notebook.
each letter becomes a name, each name a shadow

walking away. this is stasis. this is a fish split
open and thrashing on a dock beneath a sky
with no stars. this is how all the light gets
swallowed. how we store our sorrow in clear

glass jars that tint the winter’s light and this keeps
us warm through the coldest months.

+ + +

poet sam sax nailed magazineSam Sax is an MFA candidate at the Michener Center for Writers and the two time Bay Area Unified Grand Slam Champion. He’s recently had poems appear or forthcoming in Rattle, Pank, Gertrude, Muzzle Magazine, Anti-, Boxcar Poetry Review, and other journals.

Carrie Ivy

Carrie Ivy (formerly Carrie Seitzinger) is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Ivy is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.