Sentinel Poetry (Online) #58 ISSN 1479-425X


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Elizabeth Kate Switaj


Model Sister


 Cicadas have taken your mourning

trees & vaccinated leaves

          with slow hum song


            You can't say   willows weep

             over your sitting grief

              (chin to breast to knees


beneath them

I can't say they're happy

-I can

        I know that it's ridiculous


      and won't sweep your skirts down here

      until the painter comes

                             to erase sound


               and bring titles to turn you

             universal  or surprising & political

           (wherever bombing's next . . .



Home from the War


You open your cabinet & find a nation

    Teapot has taken control

Glasses are shattered

                       Teacups torture

saucers and started with spoons


                      They intended to stir us

 so did the red

-lipped cup broken lies

                          among glass  knives



The Night Before I Don't Give Up


 Another white ceiling only lonely know

                    they're never pure



This one hooked with light so bright

  have to move my bed to watch

bulbous streaks between the paint


                                   I can still hear

                                   moths I let in

            hit against their death 

Find them when I need to sweep   

                              wings not folded in               



The Devil


Neither your jawbone nor mine

between my bones beats


                       song over your

              deeper than puce purple notes

  scribbled on skin


                      This is formal, wild

                 Goats & tigers line dancing


  Hit the wrong partner get devoured

  Lose the beat   devouring

                           You're trampled



and you don't have to fear

thank to this jawbone

           held in my bones

         beating the music under your skin





          I give you nothing

 but open graves

          where you buried what you need

to escape


          Those you scraped of flesh

         and rinsed of blood with your own spit

               wiped with your shirts & panties

                                       (not always your choice

                        not always all was there

smell like parchment when they rise

You love the ones that let you write


                                 Remaining flesh feeds maggots

                                 you feel when you see

You must not bury off their scent

but burn the life you left

                            down to paper skeletons



Four of Pentacles


         these coins sleep in nest you can't reach

                                  until exhausted

your muscles free your arms to stretch

over sharp & plastic cliff




Elizabeth Kate Switaj




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