Sarah Sala

Art: Elephant

Blue Dog Blue Dog

Mid-sentence while teaching
a freshman seminar, a stranger

in a blue dog costume enters.
Blue Dog paces in eerily

without saying a word—
mimes his threadbare mitts

for us to carry-on. I search
the shadowbox of mesh

beneath its battered plastic eyes
for any indication of what’s next.

Where an ID card should rest,
an empty plastic case swings, freely.

When Blue Dog speaks,
his voice is crushed gravel:

One time I buried a bone.
I buried a bone, then I dug it up.

A part of me leaves my body.
When it’s over, he walks out.

Five days later, an Oregon community
college student shoots his English teacher

and nine others. The gunman says,
I’ve wanted to do this for years.

Epigrams for Dorothy

i am the maine coon
you drowned in iron

a fisherman crashed
in after you
but i got held under


i want you
to be an animal
pancake again

used to be i could detect
the plume of your redbird voice
amidst the figurines’ silence


you haven’t phoned
a soul in seven years
i am your ears

it’s me, meeko!
the shitzu you put down
i’m waiting on the other side
will you bring gumdrops?


i am the slum gun vodka
mandatory aneurysm in your brain
get on the floor

if the memories in your cortex
metabolized are they the jules
caterwauling in bloodheat?


on visits i wriggled
deep into the fresh down
weft of your comforter

a jolly clam
of teeth swam beside
us in a jar


were you trying to drown yourself
in the lake & needed the cat?
did you see the fisherman?
he never saw the cat

i am the persian cat
you call kitty-doggie
i don’t care what you call me
i won’t come near you


i am the letters
your granddaughter wrote.
we lined the pockets
of your winter coat
the bottom of your purse


i am your neighbor lady
from iron lake. our kids
used to play together
now were roommates
in a nursing home
& we don’t know it.

Sarah Sala is a poet and educator with roots in Brooklyn, Michigan. Her poem “Hydrogen” was recently featured in the “Elements” episode of NPR’s hit show Radio Lab in collaboration with Emotive Fruition. The Ghost Assembly Line, a chapbook of selected poetry, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in Spring 2016. Her awards and honors include: an Academy of American Poets Prize, the Marjorie Rapport Award for Poetry, An Avery Hopwood Award for Nonfiction, and a Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship. She earned her MFA in Poetry from New York University, and is a 2016 Home School Fellow. Her poems appear in Poetry Ireland Review, Atlas Review, andPalimpsest. You can visit her at


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