On “In the Third Sleep” by Kay Sage
There are three sleeps that pull us furthest through time. The first is after passing meconium. Did we think we were going back to warmth and wet? We wake up under bright lights and swaddles. We raise our tiny fists to god. We shared our second sleep, although we did not know it at the time. You took me to lunch in a small restaurant and asked what if this were our house. I said I'd put the living room by the entrance with space for dancing and my bed behind double doors. You said you'd sleep in the fountain to save time by eliminating bathing. Ashile, when you got home you called me and asked when are we going to lunch. My head was thick a nap and too much wine. I cannot remember what I replied. I hope it was as gentle as water. You were a few days into the third sleep, Kurt, when I knew. You skated over ice in your coat, my husband’s rifle like the mast of a ship. You pushed off for the land of nod, set sail in one red smear. Now I move in smaller circles, frozen in telephone wires. I shuttle back and forth between sleeps. First, second, third, over and back again. All three sleeps have little mouths, I caress them when I can.
On “Festa” by Kay Sage
We are ninety percent water, but we carry different things than the ocean. I had only a handbag. My shape did not stay in its container but went to blown out skirt, smear flower floating while well-meaning onlookers peered up inside. When I was a child, I thought the ocean could carry sound, that you could shout I love you to someone across the Atlantic, and if you did it just right, they would hear. It was only a matter of timing and patience. But waves don't work like that, the kind in oceans carry ships, and I am no ship, am passengerless. I drove myself, party of one. Landlubbers, we have driftwood on our mantle piece and another on the dresser. I do not love them; they were just things that came with deceased estate. Old, gnarled like guts. It wasn't my stomach that hurt but down below. Two weeks late and then— Water bears murk and scale. Swimmy things, learning how to be soup. They hooked me up. Two IV bags that made me cold. Other sicknesses brought me stew, or when I couldn't eat, a handful of olives. I liked eating around the pits. Water carries messages in bottles, quiet pleas for assistance. I had hoped I would find one, someday. The nurses had no news, not really. Follow up, even if you're feeling better. It wasn't the sort of thing they could test for. And then I drove myself home, eyes bald and wide like a gun. Ninety percent water, and I couldn't carry a tune. www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6169282
ON “Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool” by Kay Sage
You find the end of the world in a box of cigarettes, the yellow tips lined up like soldiers. You remember to turn a lucky. At an art gallery, you stand in an alley to smoke, where the graffiti is vines going to guns. A couple leaves, their arms around each other's waists, towards the light at the other end. A woman in a vest with dogs on it takes out a plastic bag labeled Biohazard and drinks something in vials. You see it in flashes, like neon panties through dress pants, like something caught in teeth. You see it in obstetrics waiting rooms, behind a neglected fish-tank. The end of the world refuses to use coasters. When it sets its coffee down, it leaves a ring of iron. Ring of wool is how your mouth feels when you speak its name. You know no one will miss fish, beasts, and birds, when the end strikes by getting in cracks and phone wires. When all life goes to rubble, who would mourn it? What does it mean that the end has a smaller, unplanned twin? A boat mid-abortion. You have seen it between wafts of city-piss smell. It's in the back. Does the stillness make it impending or the other way around? www.mintmuseums.org/art/collections/item/ring-of-iron-ring-of-wool/
Nadia Arioli (nee Wolnisty) is the co-founder and editor in chief of
Thimble Literary Magazine. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming
in Spry, SWWIM, Apogee, Penn Review, McNeese Review, Kissing Dynamite,
Bateau, Heavy Feather Review, Whale Road Review, Poetry South, and
others. They have chapbooks from Cringe-Worthy Poetry Collective,
Dancing Girl Press, Spartan, and a full-length from Luchador.