sarah j. sloat


There was a sound like a moccasin dropping

            in the upstairs apartment.


A boy shouted in Cantonese

near the end of the street.


For a second the radio wavered between stations


and I was so busy

            making myself marvellous.





I have the ugliest sunglasses

in the world because I am desperate.

I hate cell phones, attached

to their owners like idiot mittens,

ring tones hissing in endless emission –

a most unholy chorus.

Crossing the street in my sunglasses,

which are two-toned, my sandal snaps,

strap bursting from under the instep.

Even skimming the pavement,

it won’t play along. And I must enter

the sandwich shop shoeless, sandals

in hand, like Jesus, whose story
is so hard to believe.




Whenever I read the newspaper
I learn my money is going to hell.
It’s lubricating a chute to the furnace
every time I eat meat or sip whiskey.
Every time I wear green or live
my secret life, no matter what
innocence I’m up to,
I’m sponsoring a disease
somewhere, making
souvenirs of the populace.

My money is minted clean
but the moment I open my purse
to buy a popsicle, it trickles down
as acid rain. I sit sunning myself
in the park while my money
is felling the redwoods, adding rage

to hurricanes. I’m going to tell

the drunk approaching my bench

I can’t give him a red cent. Look

at us. My money has done enough.




Sarah J. Sloat grew up in New Jersey, and after university lived in China, Kansas and Italy. She now works as an editor for a news agency in Germany. Sarah’s poems have appeared in West Branch, Opium, Juked, and Barrelhouse, among other publications. Her chapbook, In the Voice of a Minor Saint, will be published by Tilt Press in early 2009. Sarah keeps a blog at The Rain in My Purse.