Sandy Longhorn

When All is Walled, Well-Guarded

Here’s a little trinket, Sister, to be hung
from the steel in your makeshift heart.
This globe of blown, blue glass,
discarded for its slight defect, a wobble
in the blower’s breath, may serve you yet
as ornament, or anchor when your pulse
begins to drift. I understand your silence,
your drawing in, your closed-door stance.
But if there remains an ounce of temper
in your nerves, I beg you send a message
to unmuzzle me, release me from my sentry
post and set me on the hunt. My blade
is polished swift and I’ve sent scouts
ahead to mark the coward’s house.


With No Quick Prescription Against the Suffering

Sister, I woke today mistaking cicadas for the rain.
The air thick with damp heat, the sun refusing
to relent, and that skin-seeping song. The sound
has built a cage around this house, provided shelter.
It outsings the fan and the trucks that traffic by,
shuttling north to south, full to empty. As you know,
I am hollowed out, useless as an antidote while you
struggle with a lapsed vow and the needle-teeth
of your daughters. Remember, once we bared
our incisors and tore the flesh of our own father.
We turned on one another, too. I’d offer balm
to you and yours, but all I have left is this constant
insect stutter and it takes years to learn
to hear the comfort in its heavy blanket.


Sandy Longhorn is the author of The Alchemy of My Mortal Form, which won the 2014 Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press, The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths, and Blood Almanac. New poems have appeared in burntdistrict, Cincinnati Review, Crazyhorse, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hotel Amerika, The Southeast Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. Longhorn recently joined the faculty of the Arkansas Writers MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas, where she directs The C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference. In addition, she co-edits the online journal Heron Tree and blogs at Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty.