March 6, 2018

What The Heart Knows: Sarah Kersey’s Poetry

What The Heart Knows: Sarah Kersey’s Poetry

Boxing Ring

Pendente lite

Fistful of regrets ever poised for

a jolting uppercut.

A heart too raw to consume.


I am resigning from the ring,

rescinding my vows of fidelity

snugly held by my finger.


Groomed for whole life to


the way a smoker

expands his periphery.



by half life

into its most potent parts

and the rest will flee

from the hearth between my hips.


Divorce Decree

Loosened stiff muscles too tight for commitment.

Experience exfoliated my face.

Stripped reptilian seduction off my cheek bones.

Sheared seven inches of hair

off my head, and

your scepter is severed.


Now, finally, a breathless eternity

panting, arresting in its afterlife;

bond broken.

I am exhausted. I exhale. I cry for a time

before I tricked myself into a vow unuttered,


the way some play with their tongues

linguistic as gymnasts.


I reach for a stability

not found in the perimeter of the ring

where defeat is elastic.


To Know Life, To Fight Unarmed*

To know life is to greet knowing

you won’t unmeet.


To know life is to see your creators

split into demigods, degrading into man and woman.

They can’t be fixed;

they’ll reproduce like a feral dog,

bred with its mother, birthing

its weakest parts because it’s more profitable.


To know life is to fight unarmed,

not disarming through charm and an unharmed life.

Knowing sin is a shot from the three-point line

that goes in, and goes in, and goes in.

Ball arcs and we seize in its tangerine tangent:

fibrillating equator, prime meridian an oscillating bow.

The one shot few can make

90 degrees from the basket (the least and most violent of scatter)

swishes in assent:  how is it done?


To know life is to

sleep with stress and it sleeps soundly

while you lie awake

until first light awards your lover

the upper hand to have his way with you

—still; succumbing.


To know life is

to wake up after

war broke out in your house.

All quiet bleeding beneath

coiled whips teasing as epaulets,

not massaging punitive ropes or

letting them slink off on a petty officer.


You know life when you are as

inscrutable as your signature:

fluid, hurried, self-effacing;

You are identified by your indistinct scrawl

respected in its disrepair.



A tropical storm in October

swirls summer sensibilities

onto backhand patio,

which was beginning to bleed.


At nightfall, the Doppler dread

turns on a transformer


into glass, into an inverted bowl,

we hiding under its conducting potential,

hair on end on static anxiety.


Scissors, like an unwavering ex, cut the lights

and missed the signs of changing direction.

The lines of alternating current are

punctuated into perforated switches;

But the night is nostalgic;


Stars are not dulled by sameness,

no monotonous hum of fluorescent tunnels of commuting current.

A time before light pollution,

our thumbs go up like lighters.

We don’t bite the flame’s nail

so antsy to be somewhere else

with a greater power.



we used to stretch our arms and wouldn’t reach.

When we stretch, we still cannot reach

out to when sugar crystals would shimmer in sweetness

Pulsating like a temptation.



Autumnal Arthritic

Gosh, in our forgetfulness

we are sapped of soundness,

only incandescent filaments

that decorate, not illuminate.


Weighed in preoccupation,

eyelid twitching and straining

to support us, maybe 5’5” in height

but 6’0 at the mouth.

When we rise, knees bent at the right angle,

creaking a door cracking with light,

bracing, swaying, winded.


Cruel tricks addressed in

runny hosiery,

outfit now threadbare.

Dandruff’s scalp

seasoning clothing.


roots exhumed.

The trees in spring are a testament

to what squirrels cannot remember.


We will be planted in the same soil.

Headstones in braille read and reread

by a blind wind

will be forgotten.

Hazy erasures will strain the keenest of eyesight.


Sarah Kersey is a poet, musician, and x-ray tech from New Jersey.  Her development as a poet was very gradual, beginning with a poem she wrote at age 12, which was well received by her teacher and classmates.  Later, she competed in poetry slams sponsored by her high school.  In one of them, she tied for third place.  In 2014,“A Vision in Gray Winsome Parchment,” her first published poem, appeared in Columbia Journal online.  Click here to visit Sarah’s personal blog.

* “To Know Life, to Fight Unarmed,” was first published at The Metaworker website in March, 2018.

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