Three Poems

By: Sarah Dravec



My First Time

The worst moment of my life
Was sitting next to you and seeing
Your redness your skin pale as mine
The redness of your hands
And your right hand closest to me and not
Reaching out to touch it

Weeks later when you said
In a fucking text message when you said

Are you a lesbian

I don’t know
I know that’s shitty but it’s honest

I sent no postcards about that moment
Beside you our hands tragically
Not touching one another
You in yellow shirt brown hair red skin blueblue eyes
I never shared the secret it was then
I was more dead than ever

For all I know you could be dead now
In an ocean in Ohio in a night sky
And my first time was not with you

But you were the first time
I knew I had to emerge from a forest
My skin scratched that red from my own nails
And stand in a clearing somewhere anywhere
I could find a patch of light



Feeling Flood
                for Holly

It’s not like she knows
The answers sure as fuck not me
I watch her drink something dark
To push back down what finds
A way out anyway onto the table
That we hope will splinter our hands
Is it better to be younger or older
In terms of how your lungs take air
From a recycled house to inside you
In terms of how your bones break
Into your heart and yell we have had
Enough and will not tolerate any more
In terms of how your mouth forms
The words it decides to eat again
Down into your belly the fear
And everything else you want
I know you don’t believe in it
But why don’t you try to say
Some bullshit well wishes to the sky
Like letting balloons go and thinking
What you are doing is kind
For someone you love like you are telling
A decent prayer to someone who needs it
If I started that kind of story I would
Never finish it but sitting across from me
I will attempt a story as true as how
You make me feel in a flood of too much
I love you with my one swollen hand
I put myself through pain on purpose
And if I could ever tell you enough
The story of what I am feeling flood-
Like in my capacity and my god
I think we know the answers



About Ribs

This is going to sound like a love
Poem that happens first when
I sit on a plane above everything
H says tell me tell me
But I can’t dry my eyes can’t
Dry K’s eyes two rows ahead she
Turns around and certain light
Comes in all directions like people
Away from their places together
How am I ever going to tell
Everything when the plane shakes

I can’t run anymore luckily a new city
Says no instead you walk the blocks
Real slow in an audience under lesser
Artificial light in a stranger’s car
The real smoke all around the ribs
I watch an inhale an exhale want more
Finally I start yelling on a bench
It is time to exit this plane
Okay H listen I am
Not alone or anything like it

Which is the absolute hardest
Thing to believe I walk around a while
Lost belonging no more to this sidewalk
Than to those stone benches where I want
To be stone once and for all but K
Stands on a street corner waves her arms
Says here I am come over here so I do
Some theater somewhere wants her voice
To say here we are and this is very correct

I’m not going to pretend I don’t need someone
To say I don’t want you to die or really
I don’t want you to kill yourself here we are
In the city where it is important that everything is
Freezing just so we remember the warm spots
Of air come from the fences of people
Walking in a line together I guess my skin doesn’t
Stay warm for nothing after all

A song plays about ribs like we share a bunch
To break even this evolved I am so bored
When I hate myself most it does not matter
Who is inside me today what wisping of pain
Girls are smoke and everyone knows it
What flashing lights on me will be enough
How much confused night with my glasses off

My arm reaches over the armrest like I am
Enough to tell you not to be scared whether
H and K and I will end up in Minneapolis
And back again if I belong to a heart-shaped
State if there is a place called enough if I can
Even one time fucking be filled with it

H at a table with me says everything
Dies and these are not her words
But I know what she tells me everything
Except this good man this good beer
Looks at me says I know you know

The people who do not love me do not
Love the blue pit I dig
Have been digging waiting for water and warm
To come steadily up to my face

I do not know what else to do so what I do
Is think about ribs what collapsible boats
On a sunset I cannot inhale or write down

I am most like a paper shovel
I am not going to make myself die or

Die for just anything




Sarah Dravec is a graduate of the NEOMFA. She is a poetry editor for Barn Owl Review. In 2015, she was awarded a University and College Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Her work has appeared in Bone Bouquet, Columbia Poetry Review, jubilat, and others.