Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SARAH'S MONSTERS, by KAREN SWENSON



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SARAH'S MONSTERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There is an entire row of monsters lined up
Last Line: Across the front lawn's shadows.
Subject(s): Sculpture & Sculptors


There is an entire row of monsters lined up
like ripening tomatoes
on Sarah's windowsill.
Most of us have one who,
beneath the disguise
of the grotesque, wears our features -
a little man with rat's teeth
or a one-eyed fetal dwarf
gagged with pale membrane.
They sit beside us
in offices or at parties
quietly as disciplined children.

Sarah casts them from an alloy of realities:
anatomy borrowed from her mirror,
deformities from the malocclusions of the soul.
In clay, wax, metals,
they look out at long shadows on the lawn
where she's hung a dead robin
upside down from the chinaberry bush.
Its legs are yellow and straight
as a schoolgirl's stockings.

She clips the legs off
with kitchen shears,
fits them to her monster's stumps.
It spreads cloisonne wings -
enameled fans -
beneath sky, scratched raw by jetstreams
in the setting sun.
From the steps
of her Nebraska house,
Sarah glides its wings,
boned like her arm
that raises our fear to flight,
across the front lawn's shadows.





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