Sarah Pape teaches English and works as the Managing Editor of Watershed Review at Chico State. Her poetry and prose have recently been published in Pilgrimage, The Rumpus, Mutha Magazine, California Northern, The Superstition Review, The Southeast Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Cadence of Hooves: A Celebration of Horses. Her chapbook, Road Z, was published by Yarroway Mountain Press.
I fear saying something, of not stopping until the dead
seasons come, will force all of us,
the obedient herders mewling soft songs
for flocks of girls, their milk-stained cheeks and
half-moon eyes asking, to enforce a goddamned moment of silence.
I fear that if I start saying, I will not stop;
may tell of men rubbing their hands for heat, tell you
where to find the herder’s lost orders.
(Something happened on the hill’s tip. Someone saw her buried,
multiplied, each with her own hunger and bauble-empty hands).
The necessity for control is a loving
and criminal gesture. And fear, stripped and devoid
of its implied love, is a gritty compliment. No one needed to tell me,
you’ll die for saying so; the first time against
the eggshell white, I knew. Some things you keep, so not to become.