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November 17, 2020 Poetry

Two Poems

Sarah Layden

Two Poems photo

Why This Pregnant Woman Walked Out of a Subway Restaurant in Tears 

A headline poem

Because onions, lettuce, threats of listeria.
Those months suffering from e.Coli, 
an epidemic the Health Department
traced to a sandwich guy’s dirty hands.

Because the jailed sandwich pitchman 
was scrubbed from the ads 
but not her mind.

Because she might be having a girl.
Because she might be having a boy. 
At the filthy roadside restaurant
their firstborn sat in a high chair
she could not scrub clean, a toddler
with busy hands and mouth.

Because the pitchman wanted bodies.
He texted,
Daddy needs some new pictures.
I’ll pay you big for a 14- or 15-year-old. 
His fingers tapping to hyphenate.

Because the pitchman is a father.  
When she pictures the other mother
who delivered lambs, adrenaline
courses through her veins, spoiling
for a fight. Curdles into sympathy, 
like milk left out on the counter.

Because once she could pluck
a green pepper from the garden
and eat it like an apple. 
Now she picks peppers out of salads,
a single sliver erupts like hellfire,
taking root, expanding inside her. 
Now things are different, her body
split open by burning seeds. 


The Return of Sad Beck, Thank God

An erasure poem

Beck’s Beck might emerge
Funk Beck Folk Beck 
Country Beck and of course, 

Bad news Beck’s good news:
Sad Beck is sad Beck 
is Beck. Best break-up
beauty at peace. 

Turn away, ominous confidence.
Things might get better. 
Surrender, Optimist Beck.  

Mood by Beck’s voice:
Tricked out, unadorned, 
only Beck is that calm escape
Beck remembered. 


image: Kimberly Bliss