“Untitled” by Sarah Voss

Image by Jenn Rhubright

Old man futility is hovering
over my shoulder again. My third eye
catches him fiddling with my inner ear.

As always he looks strong, invincible
but hides his face. Let me in, he pleads.
It’ll feel familiar, comfortable.

My mother housed him most of her life.
Then he discovered me and I lugged him
around for years as if I had no choice.

One day I found my daughter holding him
tight, like a lover. I watched, weeping,
while he tried to wreck her self esteem,

mangle her mind. An old soul though, she
prevailed. I call her to let her know
he’s back. I share what he’s whispering.

She’s quicker than I, this daughter. Tell him
he’s lying, Mother. Familiar maybe, but
comfortable? Tell him he’s lying, Mom.

My voice gains power as I practice. Liar,
I yell. Liar. Liar. I spit on his feet, a first
for me, and he slinks off, skunked.



Sarah Voss’s poetry has appeared in literary journals including Writers’ Journal, The Mid-America Poetry Review, Thema, Earth’s Daughters, Ellipsis, Porcelain Toad, Plainsongs, and Whole Notes, and in several anthologies including Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry; Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace: Writing by Women of the Great Plains/High Plains. Her three published books, including What Number Is God?, all contain a smidgen of her poetry. She is a past contributor to r.k.v.r.y. (“Backbone” Spring 2008)

Read our interview with Sarah here.