The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

ISSN 2249 2178


Volume-3                                                  June -2013                                              Number-1


I Knew I Was Beaten
Miriam Sagan

in the middle of the Mohave
doing my laundry
in a trailer park
by moonlight
on winter solstice
in a desert hotspring
listening to two beat up old white guys
pick electric guitar
play a synthesizer
one with a cane
one with a Santa hat
in front of a glittering X-mas tree
and I was weeping
to a Hank William's song
with the word whippoorwill
in it

I've done laundry
a lot of strange places
but here, among an audience
drinking whiskey
from styrofoam cups
I realized my sorrow
was the same
as everyone elses
and I forgot
I was a Russian Jew
born in New York City
for at the age of fifty-nine
I was just any lady
beating time with her hand
and I had finally
entered America
and I was beaten.


Equinox on Wednesday
Miriam Sagan

inside the koan of snow
    pouring down
shadow's calligraphy
across whiteness
    expanse past midnight

a gray hawk
and these flakes
fall through branches

and even later
an old man
comes with his plow

my dream has no horses
no hope of rescue
no successful
crossing of borders

I called out in the mist
wait! it's me!

I was sick in a bed
with white pillows
unable to speak

I painted this scroll
all vertical

and took your arm
in the street
my skinny girl
now that we were speaking again
after all these years.


Miriam Sagan

when I dreamed at 14
of a red bird
little did I know
I was dreaming of you

dreamed of a blue ball
of watered shattered out of my hands
and a red bird
flying into a white tree

little did I know
about giving the body
without the heart
or the heart
without the body

little did I know
till  you told me
at 60

now often
you dreamed
of red birds
flying this far north
in the snow.


Miriam Sagan

in the uncountable alphabet
bitter pine forest of words
sans serif
without butter or jam

one day we'll eat earth
and cry for more!
drink tea through a sugar cube
in italics

no one speaks in sonatas
plays scales in cyrillic
soft sound of the room key
dropped in the river

the night was aphasic
and the day
also said nothing
had nothing to say

curiosity had departed
from the old apartment
an echo of mice
in nests of dust

why me
is not a question
that bears repeating
and an ellipse

can't help you--
oh, if only
the moon appeared
at this very window!


Miriam Sagan

At the neon boneyard
a heap of
disconnected letters
a pile of As
THE SAHARA and fake "Roman" E
from Caesar's. Deaf,
I might spell into
your palm, blind
take your hand, and speechless
run a tongue along the sentence of your lips.

A silver slipper
the size of my car
lifted on a pole above the strip--
as for the Lady, with her globe and obelisk
her ship in the desert
sails full of fortunate wind.

I'll count myself lucky
to have as my first language
one with vowels.