Author: Sarah Vandervennet

Sarah is pursuing an MFA at The New School, where she is an associate editor for the literary journal, LIT.

How We Get To Where We’re Going

I prefer white walls.
And don’t think for a second that I’m going to knock my head
against my own teeth. Don’t think for a second
that I’m going to fold my room in half and in half again
until it is a paper tooth.

Just let the snakes have their poison.
They’ve spent generations remembering
the taste of air.

I also have secrets.
Like how much I hate you
and love you but hate you.

A jewelry box reminds me of throats
which remind me of trust which reminds me of money.
I prepared the lamb with pearled onions and pearls
the way we like it, but you forgot the wine.

I blew into the ear of a map
and a path appeared.
I followed it for a while but now I can’t tell
how it differs from any other path.

If I get another parking ticket
I’m going to really lose it.
And I know everything will never be perfect,
but it would be nice if for once
you told me how much it’ll take to get there.

Cowboy Coffee

this kid I live with
removed all the bricks
from around the fire pit
and stacked them in a row
along the fence
so now there is a row of bricks
along the fence
near a pile of ashes.
this kid has the room without
windows. maybe that’s why
I haven’t seen him
in five days, maybe seven.
It’s definitely odd.
my room has two windows with bars
and a bookshelf made from apple crates.
that’s where we can wed, I guess,
in the apple crates.

he went into the basement
even though I told him
about the rat carcasses. he
didn’t see any, so maybe they’ve
decomposed. I have.
I’ve decomposed. my bones are piles of bricks
near a row of windows.

he swept up the dreaded mulberries
and with them the flies.
our flies are slow and stupid. 
they live in the dirt.
this cleaning up of the yard
project has nothing to do
with nature. where the grapevine
meets the rosebush
moths are on fire.
some of them burn for longer
than legal documents.

he says,
Pour me slowly.
Pour me slowly.