Circumstances of Disappearance

By Sara Ryan

it is easy enough to say it: I want
                               to be an orange
harvest moon. cantaloupe sky, people
                                 driving into the dark
country just to see. bitten

                                 by mosquitoes. burrs
clinging to milky ankles.
                                that dappled moon
photographers click
                                the long exposure for. those pains-

taking details. every wrinkle
                                on my face. I am not
sure when I stopped believing
                                that I was beautiful, but I did
& there is no going back.

                                I want & the wanting
just becomes easier. my body
                                swallows it up until my bones sing
with the stuff. I want to be a puddle
                                with a world living inside.

slick that never dries up,
                                pooling in the craters
of uneven parking lots. forever
                                wet & weeping things.
I want to be the small sliver

                                of metal in my mother’s finger.
the scorched wall
                                of my father’s aortic valve.
I want to be blood—
                                its intricate, deliberate maze.

I want to be a planet &
                                a canyon. splinter & a tear
in the sky. I will admit it:
                                sometimes I just want
to hear my name out loud.


Sara Ryan is the author of I Thought There Would Be More Wolves, forthcoming from University of Alaska Press, as well as the chapbooks Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned (Porkbelly Press), and Excellent Evidence of Human Activity (The Cupboard Pamphlet). In 2018, she won Grist’s Pro Forma Contest and Cutbank’s Big Sky, Small Prose Contest. Her work has been published in Brevity, The Kenyon Review, Pleiades, DIAGRAM, and Prairie Schooner. She is pursuing her Ph.D. at Texas Tech.

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