Sarah Maria Medina

Sarah Maria Medina is a poet and a fiction/creative non-fiction writer from the American Northwest. Her writing has been published in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Midnight Breakfast, Educe Journal, PANK, Raspa Literary Journal and elsewhere. She was a finalist in Indiana Review’s 2015 Poetry Prize. She is also the poetry editor at Winter Tangerine. Medina is at work on several projects, including a chapbook of poetry and her memoir, The Necessity of Not Drowning. You can find her at & @crushedmagnolia




In the raccoon den, all is well
                     after Francesca Woodman

The raccoon crawls your shoulder & you let it in/ fox above/ How you crawled a sleeping/ house
that calls you charity/ & whispers crazy/ You bury sleeping hyacinth/ suck in copper kings/ You
swallow/ poems/ sip whiskey & spin/ The raccoon becomes/ brother & you do not ask/ for shelter
because shelter/ is a lonely thing/ Ice a form of many women/ You think of Sweet naked/ dress her
in clothes/ You think of Sweet drowning/ & teach her to dive/ You think of Sweet bent/ & your fist
readies/ for the shadow behind/ but what of knuckle splitting/ She wraps a shawl around
blooming/ belly & no one whispers/ bastard/ When the raccoons come/ you leave offerings 
of salmonberries/ & slick back the sky/ splint with your pinky/ You lie down/ let them become live
/ stole/ remember/ the point of departure/ tell Sweet to telescope/ her belly & listen/ to her
constellation/ You stand inside forest/ & raise your knuckle/ to fox/ but your arms become/
combed in birch/ You still your sway/ of tree & weighted/ branch/ You become fire/ kindling 
& spark



It’s cold on a Friday night
                  after Zora Neale Hurston

see how the crow flies past Sweet
clotheless in an avenue of empty field
she pretends the moon hasn’t fallen

asleep when no one notices— pretends
no one notices—low, not sweet

chases the crow—catches an ankle
tucks it to her chest bone as hand
tucks cake to mouth—leaves the crow

to speak because speaking necessitates
beak—it allows

migration to compass—how she held
witness to her father when he spat
the boot of a stranger when called spic

father saddled pride—saliva to ground
father black leather jacket & horse

his absence save weekends & summer
a cypher of kerosene & burning tracks

threat of drowning—drifting out silent
fled—the river more
death chant than child braiding cattails

Sweet winds bright peonies
stuffs one in her mouth—no

longer needed for truth speaking
filled with bloom—it tastes of violets
& rusted horseshoe



You grow wild cattails & the nymph somersaults

Hush Sweet/ the bile in back of throat isn’t/ like eighteen /winter/ styrofoam cups & coins/ for breakfast
/& then the exit came/ swell of nothing/ crush of absence shined/ boot against pelvis/ You thread your
arms with dandelion seeds/ twist hips inside a mirrored chamber/ sliding quarters/ the moon bleeds a
dip & your lip/ swells metal/ A small universe grows/ inside / shakes & whimpers/ a wet wolf now/ eyes
still sewn shut/ What holds light inside when/threads are picked/ apart & dandelion/ seeds spread/
burnt meadow? The wolf/ born slick to/ cherry pit mouth/ Look, I’m dying now/ You float past/ cargo
train burn/ sisters freed down river/ She swims/ shore & you keep tide/ her light smaller &/ smaller/ she
builds a stick house/ down slough/ cattails wave/ Your belly swells to wolf/ Nothing but a stack of
sunken/ you never know untouched/ & forget the myth of girlhood/ You become woman at six/ eight &
ten/ You speak rivers/ scoop your blooded cub/ catch/ her at the foot of it all/ & press/ her to chest of

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