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Poetry No. 61 – Sarah Payne

Three Poems

by Sarah Payne

Dead Hildegard
In the world of my body’s time, to be illuminated
meant to be lighted by fire only  The candle

of the sun igniting and extinguishing each day:
how perpetual these orbs

You began to go astray when you spoke your first lie against what you knew
O body, 

said the light

	Say these things now

Hildegard on the Lecture Circuit
These curling bodies come toward each other
like doughs in a bowl. Your fingers 

depart me, and the smells of pears come wickedly
through the slim window. The man

in Trier watched me with both of his blue eyes, as you, 
as the sparrow on the walnut branch fix 

on me now. 

       O, you are the worst of the delights, 
	   . You come to me 

       as thunder in my skull, as dim lights 
       through which I dearly strain to see.

Final Orchard
Even in my texts I am fearful,       .	

Volmar records my fear. Richardis keeps it moving. I love 
and fear the proximity of your mouth, its gorgeous dark.

	We age, Volmar  Our skins, spirits
	go floating like smoke in September
	We have been companions of many words 

	We are within the effacing of their types

The orchard blazes with eagles and rains pebbles that scatter, 

   above our shoulders, heads

	Did we set this fire?

The weightless orchard floats its chunks and roots out of the earth

The places of these things deny their fixedness and now we pace under 


        My habit sleeves brushing the tall grasses going by, your 
robe catching 


The carrots unmooring from the wormy garden

Voles twisting in the air and the river releasing from its frame


Sarah Payne grew up in Maine and lives in California, where she is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley. Her poems have appeared in Sand, Gasher, Dialogist, Tishman Review and elsewhere, and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

SARAH PAYNE‘s chapbook, The Hildegard Sequence, was a semifinalist in our Fall 2020 Digging Press Chapbook Competition.

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