Sara Moore Wagner

Blood from a Turnip
by Sara Moore Wagner

My father’s lungs are full
of fungus, great balls of fungus
fibers. Blood clots in the sinuses.
The doctors go in with knives up, masks:
Tear them out by the roots,
or the carve away at him piece by piece.
He calls to say I still can’t breath—
coughs up so much blood
the plywood walls collapse,
the dividers, the hospital.
We are out in the yard
with the wild turkey he raised
from chick. I want to hold
the waste of his breath,
the round mucus gobs
in my hands to show him
I know how to care
for something, too—I know
how to take care of myself
better than this. I want to ask
him how he let himself get so far
gone that the mold grows even
on his insides. And how much
is inside me, then—how much
of him is left in me. How much
will I still need to cut away.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.

Sara Moore WagnerSara Moore Wagner is the Cincinnati-based author of the chapbook Hooked Through (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Gulf Stream, Gigantic Sequins, Stirring, Reservoir, and Arsenic Lobster, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize, and was a recent finalist for the Tishman Review’s Edna St Vincent Millay Prize. She’s also a mother of three. Find her at

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