Sarah Fawn Montgomery


The sea doesn’t care
          about you—your infinitesimal

hurts, the way rain
          canceled your plans and you

were happy, or your sharp teeth
          shifted as if to say they hoped

to escape, your mother
          curled herself into a shell

because she will only listen
          to the sound of her heart echoed,

or a boring lover never said goodbye,
          like how you won’t watch endings,

television a comfort you can’t bear
          to conclude, the last bitter

swallow swirling shallow
          in the saucer, movies a question

unanswered, an ellipses
          like the tide, always leaving

to return, the certainty of erosion,
          crabs thrust homeless in hot

sand, gulls greedy for good
          meat, kelp tangled as a noose,

catching your lonely ankles,
          wet and muck, smell of time

and brine sharp at your throat
          as you plead the swell to stay.



Taking Plan B in a Pandemic

Means swallowing the story
where you won’t have children
with me even if it’s the end

of the world, which maybe is true
right now because we are trapped
in this lonely house without flour,

though we have 40 bananas
by mistake, too much vodka
and time melting ice into shards.

I wear a mask that is a smile
because our marriage bed has not
seen this action since the deaths

of 100,000 made us fall in love again,
even if we ran out of things
to say long before quarantine.

We paint the front door red, try to grow
green onions from what we cut
to nothing. We throw dice.

We ignore the howling
when the neighbor brings home
a dog that growls through the fence.

I believe when you promise survival:
my grandmother, my father, the robins
who fling themselves from the nest.

You bring me toilet paper, a flower
weed from the yard. You make bad jokes.
Before I swallow a plan

I never made, I cry about baking,
heat and steam, the smell of swell
and sugar. I am afraid

you will die too, leave me here and alone
with your decision. When you return
from the pharmacy you make bread

without flour. A clever trick.
I hold my aching stomach, watch you
crush bananas we never planned

or wanted into something sweet.



Sarah Fawn Montgomery is the author of Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir (The Ohio State University Press, 2018) and three poetry chapbooks. She is an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater State University. You can follow her on Twitter at @SF_Montgomery