The 2River View 24.4 (Summer 2020)

Sarah Stickney

Cheap Champagne

Everyone wants to believe
my sister and I were devastated
when my father took a mistress.
My mother told my sister,
and my sister told me. The closest
my father got to fessing
was to warn me off the married
astrophysicist who entranced me
with the fantastic ugliness
of his ungainly face. It was going
great, until he brought cheap
champagne to the place
he had in Rehoboth Beach.
At 4am I was woken
by my daimon saying loudly
“no.” I ran one of the best
runs of the year on the beach.
I wore my green silk bathrobe.
He gave the me the letters
of De Beauvoir to Sartre. I read
the whole Gorgias aloud in the car
because it was my homework.
I don’t remember anything we ate.

Shapes Under A Blanket

We are worried about the animals these days
but it’s because we are worried about control.
Yes, that acid trip was the worst
of my life, but the green chile cheeseburger
I ate afterward was transcendent;
it rivals sitting under Tuscan sycamores
eating pasta in their dappled light
with Patro. You see only shapes
under a blanket which is what it’s like
to look at your relationship.
You can make out the articulation
of a shoulder, the heavy, fused
pelvis. But the moment movement
starts you may as well be looking
at leaves on the side of a ripe grape
cluster trembling because a hungry bird
has dived to eat them, or a bonfire,
or its smoke climbing the sky.

Sarah Stickney has recently published poems in Crazyhorse and the Massachusetts Review. Her chapbook Portico was selected by Thomas Lux as 2016 winner of Emrys Press's annual competition. Stickney translates Italian poetry, and is Dean of Deep Springs college.

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