when even blessed grapes feel foul
and the sun sears the skins
of all living things,
I sit shaded under awning and toast the heat
which has created an accord with my body.
Sweet Smoky Hill sweat begins to form on,
but does not evaporate from,
my loosely crossed legs
as I melt into stasis,
on this shaded hill, with the
leafless Western plain.
I imagine the sweat soaking through my cotton dress,
staining it purple in robust, floral patterns.
I imagine it reversing its course,
like a river after drought,
reabsorbing itself back into my thighs
tracking through my stomach, up my esophagus,
and spilling out across my lips—
these tears, aromatic and sweet against the salt in my glands.
~ Sarah Chenoweth
Sarah Chenoweth is a graduate of both the English and Communication M.A. programs at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and has been published in PSU’s Cow Creek Review. She has achieved little else thus far; happy to focus on Being, rather than Doing.
Melissa Fite Johnson, a high school English teacher, received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including I-70 Review, The Little Balkans Review, The New Verse News, velvet-tail, Inscape Magazine, Cave Region Review, The Invisible Bear, HomeWords: A Project of the Kansas Poet Laureate, Kansas Time + Place, Broadsided Press: 2014 Haiku Year in Review, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, and To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices. In 2015, Little Balkans Press published her first book of poetry, While the Kettle’s On. Melissa and her husband, Marc, live in Pittsburg with their dog and several chickens. (www.melissafitejohnson.com)
Melissa says, “I love ‘moment’ poems, and this one is especially lovely. Instead of the speaker’s mind wandering to an expected topic (a loved one, a sick dog), she stays perfectly in the present. I am no good at meditation, but I feel like that ending is trying to teach me how it’s done.”