Four Poems

Dawn Sandahl

cherry bite ---fruit macro
Photo Credit: Vanessa Pike-Russell

The Afterlove

is the pulpy red organ
born after love has been
born and also died.
Your body coughs it up;
glopping red on white tile.
Nobody talks about it
but it is there.
Not even you know
it is there until
weeks or years later
when you feel the cave
in your chest with your fingers
as if pressing a button,
and wonder where it has gone.
It has waited, shriveled,
all this time until
you felt its place.

You wake up swallowing
something that crawled in your mouth
and slid down your throat
while you were sleeping.
Are you imagining it?
No. You feel it, moving down,
as it becomes a part of your body now,
as it blends with the other red pulp inside.
You can never separate the two.



I am the faded Mexican flag draped across a window, I am the red and yellow leaves skimming across the sidewalk, I am the greasy fried food on the corner of Mission, I am the young man on a bike racing past cars that got the green, I am the Laffy Taffy wrapper clinging to the drain, I am the marijuana smoke wafting from a basement level apartment, I am the piles of dog shit left to dry inside the white fence, I am the pastel ceramic carousel figurines in an old lady’s window, I am the DayGlo orange sign saying WIC ACCEPTED in a gas station window, I am the air that makes you shiver through your sweater, I am the stones folded into the pavement, so tiny and so many.


There is no going back

And to prove this,
Cortez burned the Spanish ships
on the shores of the New World.
His men pitched sailcloth tents
in the shifting sands and makeshift
lean-tos with washed-up timber.

More and more ships arrived.
Every summer night the beach blazed,
every orange face turning upwards.
The crowd gathered larger on shore.

When the ships stopped coming
the canvas forts wore thin.
The men decided to sail back.
They tore down their houses to
gather the singed Spanish boards.
But the ship-building failed.
The wood was too withered
by the sea to do anything
but burn.


How I drowned

In what box will I place you
under my bed?

I will lock you away,

mostly air.

At night your dreams
will rise to meet me.

My bedroom door will open
as if the wind
called it.

Instead of black empty hallway

you will be there.

Your chest the soft-skin
carapace of night.

Your lips the water that lives
in rivers.

Your silent call will bring me
to you.

I will follow you
to the sound of rivers.

In the morning,
I will wonder what brought me

to this muddy bank

as I choke
on the water
in my lungs.


Dawn Sandahl is a Michigan writer and poet. She enjoys poetry about nature and memory, speculative fiction, cats, and nature. In no particular order. Her work has been in Temenos and Editions Bibliotekos. She has edited for literary journals in the past and is currently the fiction editor for Greatest Lakes Review. She hopes to keep doing the things she does, like breathing. Email: d_sandahl2006[at]

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