Let Every Heart

By Sarah Maclay


The blue sash of wind circling the tiny waist of the city, ample and ample the satin, the
keen swishing of leaves, the burnished browns of dislodged palm piled askew on the
walks, the sailing trash, the cry, the lover’s tongue—slowly making its way; the heaving
boughs, the undersides of silver all at once turning together like birds, the huge relief, the
sigh, the way the hair falls to the side, the fingers turning the scalp to sand, the smell of
dope rising up from the sidewalk—a musk eucalyptus, the sirens, the horns, the bits of
yellow leaves like a stack of centimes blown over the street, the unrelenting sky, these,
these ornaments of time, the letting go of the spine, the held flight of the thousand
bougainvillea blossoms of paper fuchsia and rust, the return, the moment of stillness, the
climbing chords, the lights suddenly off, the parking lot words of the bantering man in
the Chrysler, the lips as expressive as fingers, the palm debris everywhere like fallen
wood, him, it, the pelvis open like a hinge, the sound exhaled from both bodies, the sigh
beyond color, the steep—the raw—pitch of legato, the face entirely changed, the face
made true, the wind as it spindles the long limp blinds like a sea of bamboo, oh let me not
cease, oh let me not—let this not—cease, the erupting quiet, the wind, the snare, the
sound of the drum being brushed by sashes, the blue and terrible sashes,  the lush
unspoken scream welling up from the center, lavish, unbearable, this moment, this.


from The White Bride, first published in The Journal, and later picked up by Poemeleon, for The Prose Poem Issue


SARAH MACLAY is the author of Music for the Black Room, The White Bride, and Whore, which won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry (all, U of Tampa Press), as well as three chapbooks and a short play, Fugue States Coming Down the Hall (anthologized in Scenarios: Scripts to Perform). Her poems and criticism appear widely, in spots such as APR, Ploughshares, FIELD, The Writer's Chronicle, VerseDaily, The Best American Erotic Poems: from 1800 to the Present, The Laurel Review, and Poetry International, where she serves as Book Review Editor. A Montana native with degrees from Oberlin College and Vermont College, she received a Special Mention in Pushcart Prize XXXI, was founding artistic director of The Third Area: Poetry at Pharmaka (later at Frank Pictures Gallery), and conducts periodic workshops at The Ruskin Art Club and Beyond Baroque.  She teaches creative writing and literature at Loyola Marymount University.

3 responses to “Let Every Heart”

  1. milo martin says:

    oh those blue and terrible sashes…and the pelvis opening like a hinge…
    i exalt your words…

  2. Hank Cherry says:

    a musk eucalyptus- brilliant.

    the lips as expressive as fingers- I want that to be something I said out loud. Beautiful rhythm. Beautiful poem.

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