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About this poet

Sarah Barber was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She received an MFA from the University of Virginia and a PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is author of Country House (Pleiades Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry; and The Kissing Party (The National Poetry Review Press, 2010). Since 2010, she has taught at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. She lives in upstate New York.

Detox

When the dead howl in your belly
and you’re pissing beets, it doesn’t help
to think of Clement VII, fat, sick,
and nearly dead, ingesting 40,000 ducats’
worth of precious gems ground down
and mixed with wine; it doesn’t help
to picture St.Teresa purging, a twig
of olive down her throat to make her
more susceptible to metaphor, bread
as body and flaccid on her tongue
like the silver rind of fat a child is taught
to swallow. Because not every mother bears
a mystic or a pope: some catechisms
swear by beef and its B vitamins
numbered like commandments and red
as salt deficiency—that’s why you glow
and why you’re seeing visions:
whitenesses that fly about like motes
in sunlight delicate and comfortable
as butter until the nausea comes. 

 

Copyright © 2018 Sarah Barber. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2018 Sarah Barber. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

Sarah Barber

Sarah Barber is author of Country House (Pleiades Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry. She lives in upstate New York.