“Strange Bravery I Pay the Gods For,” a poem by Sarah Bartlett

Poetry: Sarah Bartlett

Strange Bravery I Pay the Gods For

We close our eyes
so we don’t have to see
each other. I drive my car
this way and die three times
a week. I keep coming back—
life is relentless in its lesson.
I drive my car past your house
with my eyes closed and arrive in
Atlantic City. I play the penny slots
and stare at Cleopatra.
I drop coins in her asp’s
mouth and never get any back.
You drive past my house
with your eyes closed and hit
a crow in the street eating
fries from the day before.
You keep your eyes closed
and cry and die again
and wake up in your bed.
“Life is a series of accidents,”
you write in a letter to your father.
He still doesn’t forgive you.

Sarah Bartlett lives in Portland, Oregon. She is the co-author of two chapbook collaborations: Baby on the Safe Side (Publishing Genius, 2011) and A Mule-Shaped Cloud (horse less press, 2008). Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spork, Sixth Finch, NOÖ, inter|rupture, Jellyfish, and elsewhere.


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