Sara Quinn Rivara

If my body is a stranger, let it make its home in the deep woods where a clear stream runs beneath cedar, fir. If it must live in a small house with the windows locked, let it know where the knives are kept and how to use them. Let it fight back. If I am a small thing, let me be fierce. If this snake is my body, let it be lethal, let me make my burrow in the weedy hillside where sedge withers and no birds sing. If I am the monster let me devour. Leave your children in the woods and I will find them and we will be wild together. Moss hangs its crumpled gown on the cedar. The sky hangs its blades between my thighs. If this skirt is too short, let me roll it shorter. If I am asking for it then I will shout. Puffball mushrooms, buzzards. The ground is wet and everywhere weeds—vetch, loosestrife, bindflower. If my body is a vessel, it overflows. Let me be the angel who speaks blackberry, sword fern, calamity. I’ll flag down the next shining car and head toward the city. I’ll make us all beasts.


Sara Quinn Rivara is the author of two collections of poetry, Lake Effect (Aldrich Press, 2013) and Animal Bride (Tinderbox Editions, forthcoming 2019). Her work has appeared recently in Dunes Review, Superstition Review, West Branch, Nashville Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Split Lip Magazine, and numerous other places. A native Midwesterner, she now lives in Portland, Oregon.