Poetry / Sarah Rice


Funny how a yawn travels through a room
a pied piper gathering all the rats

In that instant we all draw from the same source
a great swallowed gasp shoved into our lungs

like socks stuffed in a bag
and the long outward sigh

That we try to hide it up our sleeves
makes us culprits in common

like playing truant
with a friend

It’s mostly like this
our bodies that bind us together

despite talk of mind’s united
mutual goals – a Weltanschauung

No, more likely it is that we all pee
bare-footed in the night

with toenails that particular pale shade of shell
and a shadow pressed onto each heel

That at a certain point in the evening
we reel our shoulders in on tiny strings

to catch the small warmth of our elbows
and shrink our silhouette

We all lean the same way as the bus turns a corner
grow a wide-legged stance on a train moving

We all rise
on tip-toe

at the edge
of cold water

And sneezing scares us somewhat
those first few seconds when the breath comes in and in with no end

We know the mundane imperative of bowel
and the incredulity of a broken heart

Our bodies loosen in warmth or water
and we all leave hair on the pillow

We share in the first great O
our mouths make for milk at the start

And the milky grey our eyes
all turn at the end.

Sarah Rice

‘Yawn’ – shortlisted in the 2013 Montreal Poetry Prize and published in the 2013 Global Poetry Anthology.

Listen to Sarah read her poem: http://montrealprize.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Sarah_Rice_Yawn.mp3

Image from Those Who Travel, a limited edition art-book of poetry. Images by print-maker Patsy Payne.

Image from Those Who Travel, a limited edition art-book of poetry. Images by print-maker Patsy Payne. (Published by Ampersand Duck 2010)

Buried tulip bulb
keeps its promise to the spring
swears an oath in red

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