Sara Dailey – Three Poems



The stretch of flesh over ligament,
blank canvas to be scribed by scars
or sun, this expanse of skin is a thin
parchment where I trace the letters
of my name, draw you a map,
the shape of my body fitted
to yours, a continent clinging.
I am your way home, my hip
a compass when held in your palm.

Your Body, a Symphony

Like a sculpture once seen by Rodin,
the hand’s tendons so artfully flexed,
arched as if in agony or ecstasy,
your body is a work of art,
an orchestra full of music, curving
like wood, stretching like strings,
your spine a saxophone’s brassy notes
spiked into the air, the pulse’s electric
thrumming, a drum through your skin.

Like a hall meant only for your echo
I hum an answering refrain, a whisper
of notes silvered, wild, and breaking.

What it Means to Draw a Line in the Sand

You wanted it to mean a point of no return,
to be a barrier, a side he would have to pick.

A choice between you and the not of you
and whatever the not of you would entail.

But the line wouldn’t stay a line,
it kept blurring at your feet.

Because it was sand after all, disappearing
with the tides, a fictive constant.

And so you found yourself straddling
a moving body, your arms, an ellipse

that could have held the world if only
he’d ask you to stay or tell you not to go.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

It is easy for me to find things beautiful. The way a man’s hands look when he holds his child. How the corners of the eyes crinkle when someone laughs. Steady sound, rain on a roof. Even the shine of a beetle’s back in sunlight. If you want to find beauty, you just need to learn how to pay attention.


Sara Dailey has a B.S. in Writing from Mankato State, a M.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas, and a M.F.A. from Hamline University. Her poems and essays have appeared in journals such as Ascent, Cimarron Review, The Bitter Oleander, Whiskey Island Magazine, and FragLit, among others. In 2009 she won the Shadow Poetry chapbook competition for her manuscript The Science of Want, which was also a finalist for the 2009 Flume Press prize. Her full-length collection, Earlier Lives, which was a finalist for the 2012 Backwaters Prize, was published by Dos Madres Press in 2012. More at: