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Cassandra - Sarah Cook

Sarah Cook is the 2nd place prize winner of the Spring 2021 Sad Girls Club Poetry Contest

I am aiming my bow and arrow at the thing I want most

How do women always somehow kill the thing they want most?

Which poet was the poet reading

before writing the poem that wrote me?

It is a chain of reactions and listening and counterfeit

Humans pretending this is all so natural

Especially women

for whom the natural comes easy

for whom the baby comes so easily

for whom the natural hand of justice

slaps down with a spank

on my heart, mistaken as the seat of me

Thought I was funny

Until I wasn’t

Thought I was a woman

So I started over

The difficulty of containing my ambition in solitude

A room full of men alone together saying wolf, wolf,

And my clothes they un/button simultaneously

And the cellulite on my heart on my sleeve

And my mother sleeping with/in the articulation

that bears me down

that crunches me in

that dribbles my giggle

Generation not of time but agency

the ones who say stop that

and the ones who do

In disbelief,

words are bodies are mothers are might as well

Clumped together through unfashionable witness

Smaller in the garden of your turning away

History of women looking at their own circumstances

History of their thighs their bellies their overture

History of the stage being rolled in behind them

Because of the wolves and the sayers and the peaks

Because of my body and its gravity and marbling

unavailable to my mother through request or admission

unavailable through transparency of my will to be desired

or at least believed

or at least floating

above the poem

right where the poem

can do most harm



Anything on a stick in my hand

The simple poem

would cut its sleeve in half

My mother is a woman

forever nodding along

My sleeve is a woman

pretending to be the most of me

as if the chunk of most of me

could accommodate a seam


Sarah Cook loves early Nora Ephron, rocks, and letting dill flower. She lives on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, where she makes money as a social worker in the mental health and housing fields. Find her recent poems and prosethings in Porkbelly Press, Porterhouse Review, Bright Lights Film Journal, Oregon Humanities Magazine, and at


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