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Sara Renee Marshall

How is a symbol so physical—

from To Be New for the Empire

How is a symbol so physical—
a currency a mood a sky's mammatus lobes
arcing earthward like their bow won't end
Pollen flecks turn shadows in our eyes
Two blocks of trampled blossoms—an omen
of? An omen of a question about how
we crave an omen. A man with a hook
for one hand pulls weeds with the other
Then rain. It's a relief to see the sky
untrapping its worth we'll call it
In us: the would-be luminous hurt
has sentries like worried hands


Good Portia already a moneyed gift
said mercy like her is water— so is the will
of a living daughter curbed
—not stable
or owned but endowed and never
pinned in filthy shafts of the so-called
now. Even the rules take up ghostly bodies
And we in our enthusiasm for just order
grope the air to embrace moving
spheres of the state to touch the spirit
of the law and wave as at a fly
toward the letter. What is written
in the law?
What is firm as a mountain
and moved with will? The sky opens up
into more sky then another roomier word

Sara Renee Marshall comes from Colorado. Her poems have appeared in Octopus, Everyday Genius, La Vague, Colorado Review, OmniVerse, in chapbooks, and elsewhere. Sara is a teacher, tutor, and doctoral student at University of Georgia.