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blood sick
blood bound
to helix ::
or was it just
the climate
we’re raised in ::
say it’s
genetic :: blood
my grandfather’s
my hunger ::
say it’s
endemic :: blood
my grandfather’s
my hands ::
:: wrapped
around ::
olde english
old crow ::
we carry
our dead
on the backs
of our red
blood cells ::
crows on
the backs
of our blood ::
every spell
cast its hooks
in us :: sins
of the father ::
sins of the
son :: another
child born
in my family’s
blood ::



i ate death
by the fistful
to forget him.
boy :: glass
pitcher full
of foul water.
how i drank
& howled
on the bus.
how i ate
his leather
shoes. concrete
bust of a winged
& weeping
child. photo
graph of a statue.
boy :: butcher
knife pulled
from a hymnal.
boy :: my head
through drywall
again & again
& my altar
& altercation
& all the king’s
men he slept
with. deception
in clever robes.
my drywall
demented by
sorrow. my mass
& massacred
thigh. he loves
me, he loves me
not. he ties
my stomach
into knots
he makes me



the accident that almost happens

leaves its imprint

the sink hole you pretend is a god’s footprint

the bruise of unknown origin

the civic behind

my neck aches

in one life

my spine is severed & i fall

like a roman

building. in another i fly

clean through my front window

the glass parting around me

like a people through a dead body

of water. in the last, i drive

to the library to write out

the tremor that runs still

through my skin.

even in these hours after,

my hands shake their gasoline

sick engines. inside the brake’s screech

you could hear a space ship

splitting in half

the cabin eats its astronauts

while the engines continue

up into the unknown -

even marcus aurelius admits time

may in fact be what happens

behind the wheel of a car.

why in the moment between

impact & absence, there’s a split

& i travel in every direction  


Sam Sax is a 2015 NEA Creative Writing Fellow & Poetry Fellow at The Michener Center for Writers, where he serves as the Editor-In-Chief of Bat City Review. He’s the two-time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion and author of the chapbooks A Guide To Undressing Your Monsters (Button 2014), sad boy / detective (Black Lawrence 2015), and All The Rage (SRP 2016). His poems are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Boston Review, New England Review, Pleiades, Poetry Magazine, and other journals.