The Year Before You Were Born
Sara Biggs Chaney

At 23 I went distances with strangers–

North to Michigan in hatching season,
alien wings stirring air.
South to Nashville,
open doors exhaling songs I never knew I liked,
until I heard them.

At 23 I did too much of everything
in one sitting.
I got pierced.
I got terrified.
I lost my underwear in a guitar shaped pool.
I hung around unfamiliar doorways,
disappointed in my own performance.
I tried new recipes for cleaner living
and burnt my fingers on the stove top.

At 23 I broke ground
For a house of bent rules
behind the highway rest stop.
How much, how little
seemed to matter
when paradise was up the scrubby hill,
behind the concrete block latrines.
When I was 23 and made for trysting.

Sara Biggs Chaney lives and writes in Vermont. Her poems have appeared or will appear in Menacing Hedge, The Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Right Hand Pointing, Stone Highway Review, Rufous City Review, and elsewhere. You can catch up with Sara at