May 9, 2017

Three poems by Sarah Henry: "Angel," "The Mexican Chair," and "Brownout"

Sarah Henry is a former student of two U.S. Poet Laureates at the University of Virginia. Today she lives near Pittsburgh, where her poems have appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Poetry Review and The Loyalhanna Review. Farther afield, Sarah's work was published by Soundings East, and The Hollins Critic. Her poems have been included in six recent anthologies. CheapPop and Donut Factory featured her humorous prose.


It’s an oven at Valparaiso.
Tourists retreat to hotels.
Insects hide.
Birds mutter a little
in the dusty trees.
A sweating mother stays
indoor with her baby
and a dog who is jealous.
Pools fill with the anxious.
Crops come along.
Air conditioners struggle and
it’s only ten in the morning.


an angel is advancing
toward me at our school.
Students shoulder past
her loudly.
She hands me a hammer
as the heel of my
boot falls off.
I sit down like a surprised
squirrel and pound the heel
into place, then gently
hand the hammer back.
Maybe she is going to
hang a painting or build
scenery for the theater
after she disappears.
I picture her floating through
aisles of garden hoses and ant
traps to find a perfect hammer.
She brings it to an empty counter
and pays a stranger with pink
paper bills from a country
where money is worthless.
She runs out with this
stupendous hammer and
can’t wait to use it.
She rushes to help
the hobbled and astonished,
and my heel is fixed
in no time.

The Mexican Chair

A bazaar sold imported
furniture for cheap.
I bought a caned
Mexican chair with
wonderful details
and a sturdy seat.
It gave my den
an attitude.
Ten dollars can do
this for a room.

A chair takes on
a life of its own
when it stands solidly
beside a brown metal
set of drawers
with a yellow lamp
resting on top.
I put an empty jug
of port alongside a leg
to make it look
like someone had
just sat there.
I finished it all
by hanging a print
of a Mexican girl.

The grouping looked
better than my wooden
card table and wicker stool.
The two idled dully
across the room.

© Sarah Henry

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