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Wyvern Lit

Four Poems

Poetry by Sarah Xerta



On the seventh day of fall I hate poetry so much

I consider killing myself after all. My teeth 

are locked together, my hip bones digging 

backwards into me, which might feel okay 

if the rest of me wasn’t being mangled 

by the invisible hand that no one will claim. 

I know what it’s like to feel desperate 

like that, but fuck I don’t go digging 

around for myself inside of other people

as if they are trash cans, because people

aren’t trash cans, you there with the violets 

for eyes, you there with the piano notes 

dripping like slow rain from your fingers.

I know I sound like I’m inventing things

but this is how I actually see you: perfectly. 

Of course the next question is why

I can’t see myself that way. It’s the number 

one thing on the to-do list I am always 

meaning to write. I even did yoga

this week, took a bath, slept long nights and

practiced holding magick in my hands, pushed 

warm light in your general direction. If only

I could be the light, this general good feeling, 

like living rooms at dusk, how good they are

at keeping the cold out. I guess I never

learned how to build the right kind of walls, 

just the ones that lock me inside, the ones

you used to bang your head against

when I ran out of hands to hold you. 

All this fancy talk for loneliness 

to keep us from our loneliness. 

It’s almost funny but I’m too tired to laugh, 

though I would support you if you wanted to laugh. 

I would support you supporting me. 

I feel like that’s obvious by now. 

Lately I take a lot of breaks

from being aware of my body as mine.  

It’s so much nicer to think of myself 

as the earth that I am, all these light waves

bouncing off me so when people look 

at me they think I am real, and I want to say 

that’s because you are. I mean literally. 

I mean come over and let me be a nerd

while you smile, let me tell you

about illusions, how everything you see 

is only because of the rods and cones

in your eyes, that you bothered to look.




Yesterday I wanted to die and today I want to live again. 

This is every poem I have ever written. This is why

I’ve spent such little time writing, so tired of looking

at myself and seeing nothing. I see emptiness, I 

see your enormous head looking back at me, glass

marbles where your eyes should be. You are such a sad 

vessel. Sometimes now when I think of you I think

of nothing. You are horizontal in a forest but the insects

know to stay away. You have not decomposed

because you have not stopped breathing, which is really

all I ever tried to show you. Just keep going one of us

would say to the other, until we stopped, until you didn’t

say anything when I needed you most. I needed you, isn’t that

what you said you always needed? You live inside lies. 

I know because I live inside them too. But I quit

the cigarettes for real this time. I barely sip alcohol. 

See how stable these lines are, this low-frequency love. 

Though I’m tempted to make this funnier, more charming, 

our usual game. The sex game, the mush game, the birds

in your motherfucking cock game. I mean it when I say

you were more than a body to me. I’d like to think

I was more than a body to you, but maybe that’s just

another lie for me to crawl up inside of as the wind

gets colder now. I don’t know and I’m not sure 

I actually care. Just because something is a lie 

doesn’t make it any less necessary for my survival. 

Sometimes we trade in our health for comfort. 

Sometimes I grab whichever hand is in front me,

because sometimes not drowning is the priority,

even if the hand ends up hurting me, what else

was I supposed to do? But still I am greedy. 

Still I want it all, and now that I’m not drowning 

I am sliding back into my original whorish self. 

I am growing more entitled to space, entitled to feeling 

entitled to space. I am taking all my notes from you. 

I want to tongue the moleclues that make up an object

as well as the spaces between them. There is no emptiness. 

What I mean is I’m alive today and loving it in spite of you, 

maybe even because of you, either way without you.




I don’t know how to form my mouth

Into shapes other than No


At first I was afraid

And now I can’t stop


Now I am afraid

Of what will happen if I soften


My mouth like a stick

Of butter in the sun


How quickly the sharp

Edges of my tongue 


Would melt round

The way open


Arms are round

Like a welcoming/ like a mat 


What is butter anyway

Full of bad fat 


Which is fitting

According to my family’s daily 


Assessment of my ass

You can’t sustain yourself on butter


But you can use it for flavor

Taste bud ornamental 


Sprinkled with salt

Raised from human skin 


This is how 

Small you made me


Can I blame you

Some will ask


As if you are an animal

With an insatiable appetite


As if you couldn’t help yourself

But oh how you could help yourself


How you do




I shaved my head so that every

dead part of me you touched

would be gone. For a month

I felt clean, got addicted

to myself again until

the high wore off and I crashed

back down into the dustiest

corner of my life. Or maybe I 

am the corner, maybe you

are the dust. I don’t know. 

I am tired of being melodramatic

and calling it art. I am tired

of people getting off on my survival

for free. I spend my days tonguing

my own exoricism, 

trying to scrape your breath 

from the inner lining of my lungs. 

I’m so busy building windows to climb out of

that I forget to open them

and die in the heat

of my own panicked exhalations. 

It’ll be miraculous if I 

don’t die in an accident

but I don’t know how 

to feel thankful for that. 

Happiness just isn’t

a thing that exists

is what I tell my therapist

and she says she is concerned, 

says something about medication, 

I say something like a nod

and change the subject, 

or maybe I don’t change the subject, 

I can’t remember, these hours

like years, the way they stretch

my muscles sore. I’ve become an expert

at humanizing myself. I record

my mistakes, trace the weakest

parts of me in the dirt

so that I’ll be remembered as real.  

Like silk scarves I pull

these words from my throat

and tie myself to you over

and over again

so that I have something other

than my own wrists to cut. 

It’s working. 

But poets are still

some of my least favorite people, 

especially the ones 

who care about language

more than they care 

about mouths stuffed with socks, the broken

jaws that nights are made of, 

all my memories of you, 

all that darkness

draped over our bones

like homes no one can keep from collapsing .  

The trees are turning yellow

and I want that to mean

something different this year,

unravel all the sweaters

and don’t even bother

to set them on fire, forget

about fire, the life 

you pulled up out of me

just so you could douse it in shame.  

I want to be the lie someone needs

to wake up in the morning,      

not this hot marrow

cooling beneath your fingers, 

the space in your chest

where I’m supposed to be.