Sarah Janczak


I must be able to pronounce it.
To slip the language through my lips,

to mean it. And I did. Each night,
I rolled their names over

and over my tongue. I stopped smoking.
I rubbed my belly. Thought, the time, it is coming.

I practiced baking birthday cakes,
tying shoes. Goodnight moon.

This month again I stroke
each viscid brown (almost) child

as he slides out of me.
We were going to call you Cuauhtémoc,

I whisper. An eagle
who descends on his prey. Here,

in the fluorescent bathroom,
mold covered baseboards,

my fingers are forced to the truth,
it turns inside my uterus:

a balloon full of radon.


Mercury is in retrograde and astrologers advise
against signing contracts. What do we trust if not beginnings?

I was not on a path that led me here;
I am here and now I see the path. Out there

the bus goes by every 15 minutes, my dog barks
at passing strangers. Strange men who glance inward,

I put your face on every one of them. I keep a hammer
under my pillow. My grandfather taught me precaution.

Grandpa, how do I meet anyone when our lives pass like data
from one invisible account to the next? I do not earn anything.

I am only losing sight of what once was real —
the way grass feels in the morning, like a soft shower.


Sarah Janczak is a writer and digital strategy consultant in Austin, TX. She studied poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from
inDigest, EDGE, and Colorado Review.