The Phoenicians

by Sarah Stickney

Sarah Stickney’s poems have appeared in journals such as Rhino, The Portland Review, Mudlark, Bateau, B O D Y, YesPoetry and others. Her manuscript Portico was selected by Thomas Lux as 2016 winner of Emrys Press’s annual chapbook competition. Stickney holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire and lives in Baltimore.

 

If at night on a piece of paper
I write now it is night
and I sleep, when I wake
it will be a lie. But when
does truth leave? Like wings
in a dream didn’t it have lift
and dark body? The alphabet
and its first shape we owe
to the Phoenicians. First
to place wood on water
and trust their weight to it,
they streamed across
the Mediterranean like electricity
with their purple sails. Up beaches
no foot had touched, they tugged
those vessels to rest. Saffron-eaters gold
with hope, they let fall over
the horizon their own lands
like a sheet slipping off
a girl’s hips. In the dawn
a vista of the sea as clean
as blood. Never in the same place
twice, they began to write.

 


Sarah Stickney’s poems have appeared in journals such as Rhino, The Portland Review, Mudlark, Bateau, B O D Y, YesPoetry and others. Her manuscript Portico was selected by Thomas Lux as 2016 winner of Emrys Press’s annual chapbook competition. Stickney holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire and lives in Baltimore.

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