Two Poems

by Tonya Sauer


I want to want this.
So, make me a blood

orange, ripe enough to peel,
pared down to the pith

by a kitchen knife, the reddened
flesh pouring into whatever

light there is—
pull me taut

as a tendon in my own
indelible sheath,

weighted curl looping
through my belly,

ache that can’t
be rubbed away.

Settle in my bones,
marrow sponged red,

every cell in me splitting
like a grape. Divide

me down to this—
muscles working

in my throat, chords
circling in oh, oh,

this O, which is neither
profane, nor worship,

merely witness to what
will come next.

I have always been
afraid of new things.

But here are my hands,
gouged with prayer,

porous bowls waiting
to be filled.


On Learning

I fell into the world
like a robin’s egg, sliding
from the nest, a blue egg

from a blue sky, falling
to the grass. Still, I cracked
in spite of it, that prickled

softness. I broke
my arm on a thatch of grass.
A patch of dirt, actually, grass

rubbed clean of its roots
from the so many feet near
the swings. The ground did not

receive me when I leapt, resisted
with a snap in my radius, a curved,
jagged line—who knew breaking

could be so photographic,
my bones white on black film,
but no matter how many times

I turned the picture, the break
did not mend—rather, it was like
a puzzle, where everything fits,

but the fault lines still bump
their ridges beneath a fingertip.
And this is the only way

we learn—pain.
A mother watching
a daughter thrust her finger

into a birthday candle
so she can learn that what
is beautiful is also cruel,

will leave her marked, though
it may not be visible, will leave
her dazed in the grass, the blue sky

refusing to meet her eyes.


Photo credit

About Tonya Sauer

Tonya Sauer is a nurse living near Chicago, Illinois. She has poems published and forthcoming in Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, Bird's Thumb, The Tishman Review, and others.

Tonya Sauer

Tonya Sauer is online at