Two Poems by Nicholas Sauer


I can read your mind and let me tell you I am not Poison Ivy from the Batman comics—such red hair
and long everything,
you scribbled in your math notes—but I won’t fog up your glasses
or seduce you with tendrils of ornamental greenery. I am not a Star Trek
ensign with her scanner beeping as if she worked at Target, announcing

with that girlish throb things like: “These cornflakes are two for five dollars, Captain.”
I am, however, a life guard—as you imagined in such great detail—but I have
the necessary skills to fend off piranha and killer sharks, and even
know CPR and helped revive that elderly woman last August

who almost drowned at the country club. But I will give you
this much: I approve of David Bowie’s spandex in Labyrinth
and of Che’s musk and revolutionary facial hair—I am not chaste

and neither am I perfect, and I’d gladly let you borrow my acne
or psoriasis cream if you’d ask. We each well up, you who sit a row
behind me, with our secret joy and hidden pain,
and weep in restrooms over lost love and deceased
pets, over divorce and broken glass, and carry
the weight of so many different selves.


We are learning the sweetness of isolation,
the paring of a soul. The astronaut
his Tang; the frozen streams
outside Archangel—piles of timber

higher than a prison guard.
We are mournful animals. Inside of us,
the water of the second day separates from water.
You sip at my clavicles as I make myself

a transmitter for the Tesla coils
of your hair. At least I have that much
in common with lightning.
Although, it’s hard to have an ego

when we’re named after dirt.
At last, we’re learning why

some rabbis must be thirty before reading
Song of Songs, before following the
wild deer into thickets, before touching the white breasts.

Nicholas Sauer is a teacher of history and English from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a former editor of Nuances, the online literary magazine of La Roche College.