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About this poet

Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections: Count the Waves, forthcoming in 2015 from W. W. Norton; I Was the Jukebox (W. W. Norton, 2010), winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Theories of Falling (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008), winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize. She lives in Washington, D.C., and is on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program at the University of Tampa.

 

Vocation

Sandra Beasley
For six months I dealt Baccarat in a casino. 
For six months I played Brahms in a mall. 
For six months I arranged museum dioramas;
my hands were too small for the Paleolithic
and when they reassigned me to lichens, I quit. 
I type ninety-one words per minute, all of them 
Help. Yes, I speak Dewey Decimal.
I speak Russian, Latin, a smattering of Tlingit. 
I can balance seven dinner plates on my arm.
All I want to do is sit on a veranda while 
a hard rain falls around me. I'll file your 1099s. 
I'll make love to strangers of your choice. 
I'll do whatever you want, as long as I can do it 
on that veranda. If it calls you, it's your calling, 
right? Once I asked a broker what he loved 
about his job, and he said Making a killing. 
Once I asked a serial killer what made him 
get up in the morning, and he said The people.

From I Was the Jukebox: Poems. Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Beasely. Used with permission of W. W. Norton & Company.

From I Was the Jukebox: Poems. Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Beasely. Used with permission of W. W. Norton & Company.

Sandra Beasley

Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections: Count the Waves, forthcoming in 2015 from W. W. Norton; I Was the Jukebox (W. W. Norton, 2010), winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Theories of Falling (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008), winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize. She lives in Washington, D.C., and is on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program at the University of Tampa.

 

by this poet

poem
After you've surrendered to pillows 
and I, that second whiskey, 
on the way to bed I trace my fingers 
over a thermostat we dare not turn up.
You have stolen what we call the green thing—
too thick to be a blanket, too soft to be a rug—
turned away, mid-dream. Yet your legs
still reach for my legs,
poem

Fireflies, Col. Glenn calls them—
banging the capsule’s wall to prove
their movement. This
will be the gesture Hollywood

claims as history—how space
dazzles even the seasoned airman,
maddens like Titania’s touch.
The movie version sees

what he sees: Florida yawn,

poem
In the nearby plaza, musicians would often gather.
The eternal flame was fueled by propane tank.
An old man sold chive dumplings from a rolling cart,
while another grilled skewers of paprika beef.
Male turtledoves would puff their breasts, woo-ing, 
and for a few coins, we each bought an hour with 
the grief