“To Know Life, To Fight Unarmed” by Sarah Kersey

To know life is to greet knowing
you won’t unmeet.

To know life is to see your creators
split into demigods, degrading into man and woman.
They can’t be fixed;
they’ll reproduce like a feral dog,
bred with its mother, birthing
its weakest parts because it’s more profitable.

To know life is to fight unarmed,
not disarming through charm and an unharmed life.
Knowing sin is a shot from the three-point line
that goes in, and goes in, and goes in.
Ball arcs and we seize in its tangerine tangent:
fibrillating equator, prime meridian an oscillating bow.
The one shot few can make
90 degrees from the basket (the least and most violent of scatter)
swishes in assent: how is it done?

To know life is to
sleep with stress and it sleeps soundly
while you lie awake
until first light awards your lover
the upper hand to have his way with you
— -still; succumbing.
To know life is
to wake up after
war broke out in your house.
All quiet bleeding beneath
coiled whips teasing as epaulets,
not massaging punitive ropes or
letting them slink off on a petty officer.

You know life when you are as
inscrutable as your signature:
fluid, hurried, self-effacing;
You are identified by your indistinct scrawl
respected in its disrepair.


Sarah Kersey is a poet, musician, and x-ray tech from New Jersey. Her work has appeared in The Harpoon Review, Squawk Back, Window, Fire Poetry, Verse Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Sarah has a blog at sarahkerseypoetry.wordpress.com.

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