Sarah Bess

Oklahoma Garbagescape


We are driftwood spider limbs

embracing an old tire


Beercan hearts beating

in bodies of scattered foam


We are sulfur smell and histories

eroded into soft earth


We dream of drowning


I ask you what it means to fall asleep

and you tell me how you imagine
your own death every night

the only thing that calms you down


I show you my collection of specific plans

and the scar

from where I burned myself with a sparkler

a hot wire

this one from a kitchen knife

an old box cutter


This is the dance

that precedes the rising waters of

our mutual dismemberment

When I sleep next to you

I don’t dream at all



Sarah Bess is a queer, autistic, trans woman from rural southeast Missouri. Much of her writing is about locating her body in space and time, and reaching toward a kind of neuroqueer phenomenology of the self as an embodied landscape.

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