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Sarah Heady

from Comfort 

is boiling lamps in water to make them stronger. is slipping her pancake turner under the pie &
seldom burning her fingers. is filling her mouth with sassafras, very hot water for bruises. & when
the water is bloodwarm put it in a quart glass jar with sugar & salt : wait in a warm place until
evening : for what is home without a father

is obscured by a strip of brittle yellow tape where air had entered the side of her head. is holding her
hands in the air. is kneeling. is planted barefoot : arm-saggy, dough-eater : umbrella for her own
existence. is stripes in the sun, stippled red. is staring. is certainly aging, but not as quickly as one
might expect. is coveting pearls, even false ones. is hoisting the child to hip so that he is taller :
someone’s arm hooked to hers, always : hanging there bandaged from the plow. has an empire waist.
is going to town with hot baskets & napkins laid over bread. does not have an apple barrel aesthetic.
something appears on the floor she just washed, or maybe she’d missed it from the start :

is loving the land’s enigma. is listening to coyote calls layered with other sound : coyote with rain,
coyote with buzz-saw bug high up in the poplar, coyote with combine. is kneeling in the floating
barn, picking through owl pellets. is separating fluff with her fingers, feeling for vole bones, stowing
them in a tea tin for someone years later to ask herself why

is speaking from the rock, is looking through the hole, is colors of lake foam, clear black ice. the
river recedes, clouds of ash cover the field but the corn keeps growing : snow will come : she buries
herself in stalks : ribbons that reach through the dark to run up her legs, criss-cross, balletic, alone
for some hours in the house. ribbons of darkest brown : smooth : like the rim of a horse’s eye

is fire : a glow from the front, from inside the burn barrel, chain of silos lit up from behind :
horizon-bound black column : walking the road, no shoes as something beyond her flowers in
orange tunnels : a bombed-out swamp, a prairie dog splayed, a swarm of attic locusts. is a weather
pattern, a sweater pattern, a stripping : red fruit, tent-given : is revival, thereby explosion. town
buildings low & flat below cumuli, distaff blue : her youngest opens the door, hangs off the knob in
footies, cupping his ear complaining : she holds out only one hand, the other being immersed in
boiling water :

Sarah Heady is a poet and essayist interested in place, history, and the built environment. She is the author of Corduroy Road (dancing girl press, forthcoming 2020), Niagara Transnational (Fourteen Hills), winner of the 2013 Michael Rubin Book Award, and Tatted Insertion, a limited edition letterpress chapbook with artist Leah Virsik. She is also the librettist of Halcyon, a new opera about the death and life of a women’s college, currently in development with composer Joshua Groffman and producer Vital Opera. Her manuscript Comfort, a meditation on female solitude, agency, and relationship set on the prairies of the American West, was a finalist for the 2019 Ahsahta Press Sawtooth Poetry Prize and the 2017 National Poetry Series. She lives in San Francisco, where she co-edits Drop Leaf Press, a small women-run poetry collective.

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