Sarah Estes

by Sarah Estes

We watched the wooden frames of farmhouses
groan and crumble, heave towards the water
then fall prostrate against the indifferent sky.

My father readied the final meals of my childhood,
sheer yellow curtains shifted warily in the breeze.
Mother was on a diet, quietly peeling chicken fat
in the living room while she watched the waters rise.

Downtown, where the water had grown by fifty feet,
the flag bobbed in the current, relieved finally

of its heavy weight.

Mud became our country and dusk became our home,

arms pregnant with swollen bags of sand,

the thud-thud beat of plaintive walls weakening
as the season of rains wore on.

And then the song rising, the long drone
of mosquitoes over a sullen stretch of beach.
Full then faltering then fleeing into silence.

The taste of death on the wind—her fragrant
and final ambition. The insatiable hunger for

peach-scented flesh,

your black-eyed stone.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 4.

Sarah EstesSarah Estes’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, Christian Science Monitor, Agni, Cimarron, Crab Orchard Review, Field, New Orleans Review, Southern Review and elsewhere. She obtained an MFA from the University of Virginia as a Hoynes Fellow, and a master’s in religion and culture from Harvard.

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